by Narelle Atkins
I’m excited to be a part of this new group blog. The writers in our group are all travelling their own unique journeys, and I believe we can learn a lot from each other’s experiences. I’m a romance writer and, if you asked me what is one thing a writer can do to help them on their journey to publication, without hesitation I would recommend joining writing organisations that are relevant to their writing interests.
I can thank the writing organisations I belong to for teaching me how to become a professional writer. I value the writing friends I’ve made through my various writing groups. Your writing friends are the people who understand your euphoria when you final in a writing contest and receive a full manuscript request from your dream editor, and they share your pain and disappointment when you receive yet another rejection letter. I appreciate the writers, many of whom are further along the road than I, who have taken the time to encourage, support and teach me about the craft and business of writing.
Romance writers are known for being friendly, supportive and willing to help others. I’ve certainly experienced this through my memberships with Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America. I served as Vice President of the Faith, Hope and Love Inspirational Chapter of Romance Writers of America (FHL) from 2008-10, and in 2011 I’m serving as Co-President of FHL. FHL is a very comfortable fit for me because I write category romance targeting both the Christian and secular markets.
Writing organisations also provide a wealth of information and resources. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) is an amazing organisation with more resources than I have room to list in this post. They have an online email loop frequented by multi-published authors and industry professionals. ACFW provides free online classes for members and an annual conference that I would love to attend one day. The International Christian Fiction Writers blog was formed as a result of ACFW members chatting about promoting international Christian fiction on the ACFW Beyond the Borders zone email loop.
I’ve learned how to query editors and agents, and how to assess whether a publishing house or agent would be a good fit for my work. My writing has improved after entering and judging contests sponsored by writing organisations. I met my critique partners through my writing groups. I understand the importance of networking, and that marketing and promotion should start before you publish as you seek to create an author platform. I have realistic expectations about life as a published author, and I know that a large majority of working authors also have a day job. I have met, both online and in person, a number of authors who are my role models and who I want to be like when I finally become a published author.
I encourage all the writers reading our blog to get connected with writing organisations because they have been an enormous blessing in my life. Have you been blessed by writing organisations? I’d love to hear your thoughts.