So, you want to write a romance novel? Or perhaps you have a work in progress. Maybe you’ve completed a manuscript. Or several. Congratulations! You’ve embarked on an incredible journey, one that can be both fun and potentially frustrating.
When I began writing two and a half years ago, I didn’t know any other writers and was clueless about what went into writing a marketable story. I made many mistakes. In an effort to speed you on your way toward publication, I’m passing along information I wish I’d had when I started. I’m calling this the Romance Writer’s Road Map.
One thing that slowed my progress was the fact that I was writing in isolation. I craved contact with other writers, but I didn’t know how to find them. Today I’m going to list six steps to help you make those all important connections. In Part Two, I’ll talk about how to get feedback on your work.
1) Join Romance Writers of America®. This organization is for both published romance authors as well as those of us who are as-yet unpublished romance writers. With over 10,000 members, you’ll be in good company and will have access to many excellent resources, including the monthly magazine, the Romance Writers Report. The cost to join as a general (U.S.) member at this writing is $100, which includes a one-time $25 processing fee. This is money well spent.
2) Join one or more of the over 130 local and special-interest chapters of RWA®. To locate a chapter, click on Chapters Listing in the national website sidebar. Once you’re a member of your local chapter, attend the monthly meetings if at all possible. You’ll meet wonderful women there who share your passion for romance writing and may well become some of your best friends. You must be a member of RWA to join a chapter. The fees are minimal.
3) Join a writers’ online chat group. Many local or online RWA chapters have one and will invite you to participate once you’re a member. If not, contact one of your chapter’s officers to find out if the chapter has a loop. Once you’re a loop member, you can start by just reading the messages. When you’re more comfortable, you can join the discussions. You’ll learn a great deal from reading the messages. Common topics are upcoming chapter events, agent/editor updates, contest announcements, and individual writers’ news items.
4) Visit blogs that focus on writing or writers. You’ll find a links page on this site. Many websites and blogs have them. Check out different blogs until you find those you like that fit your needs and interests. You can subscribe to those you want to read regularly. I use Google® Reader as a way to manage my blog subscriptions. That way my inbox isn’t flooded with blog feeds. I schedule time to read blog posts so that doing so doesn’t break up my day. When visiting a blog leave comments. You’ll interact with the blog owner, guests and other readers. This is a way to cultivate professional relationships. You will find that you connect with some people and go on to form friendships that you continue privately.
5) Consider joining a social network such as Facebook or MySpace. Many writers are members of one or both and will “friend” other writers. If you want to learn more about Facebook, I have a post on my other blog, On the Path to Publication, where you can read about my positive experience.
6) A wonderful way to connect with other romance writers is to attend the RWA National Conference held each summer in a different city. The 2009 conference will be in Washington, D.C. If the expense of attending Nationals is more than your budget can bear, there are conferences and workshops put on by RWA chapters throughout the country. Other writing conferences can be beneficial, too, if they have fiction writing instruction.
These are just some ways that will help you become part of the larger writing community, but there are others. What are ways you’ve found that helped you connect with other romance writers with whom you’re sharing your journey to publication?
All those who leave a comment between now and Saturday, September 20, at 8 p.m. Pacific time will be entered in a drawing for a set of eight note cards depicting that special substance that jump starts many a writer’s day: coffee.
Congratulations to Jessie, winner of the drawing.
If you don’t see a comment form below, please use the link by the post title.