I am a member of several groups geared towards authors, editors and publishers, for example:
- Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors, & Writing Professionals
- “Write It Down”-A Website for Writers
- Copy editors and proofreaders
- LinkEds & writers
A number of the groups are private, in other words, you request to join and a moderator determines if you belong in the group. This way an insurance salesperson can’t join a group dedicated to writers for the purpose of selling policies.
Private groups are a great place to ask questions that you may not want the rest of the world to know. This morning I was reading up on some of the most current discussions and found a few really interesting ones in the Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors & Writing Professionals group:
Wesley Moody asked: Has anyone registered as a business?
I am considering making myself a small business. If anyone has done this, it worth the hassle? What are some of the drawbacks?
He received a variety of responses including writers in favour of registering as a business and ones who were not. I would imagine that for Wesley, it was great to see the differing opinions and read the reasoning behind them. He also received helpful how-to advice.
Kim Davis (a different Kim Davis) asked Does anyone use a pen name?
I have a common name (that’s been in the news a lot lately) and I’ve been thinking about pen names. Does anyone use one? If so, why? If not, why not?
She received all kinds of great feedback, including one fact that I didn’t know:
Asimov was also writing in a different era. He was terrified that his Ph.D. committee would find out he wrote SF and decide that was lowering the tone of the university; these days, the committee would be full of old geeks that would be ecstatic to find one of their students publishing SF.
Over in the LinkedIn Eds group Patty Patel asked “When is it all right to use present tense in past tense fiction writing?”
She received a variety of opinions and also examples of authors who have mixed tense in their stories.
Writing is a fairly solitary endeavor and when questions pop up there isn’t anyone around, except the cat, to ask. This is especially true if you aren’t a member of a writing group. Rather than sit around and wonder or search Google for some random answer, LinkedIn groups can serve the same purpose as in person writing groups.
The added benefit is that you’ll receive answers from people across genres and across the country/world; some successfully published many times over and others just starting out.
You have the ability to sift through the answers and weight their opinions before making any decisions.
Not comfortable asking questions? Not a problem; look back over the discussions others have had and read up on the comments. Ease your way into participating. Experiment with the LinkedIn groups you join. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. Join a few different ones and visit periodically to see what kinds of discussions are happening. If you find a group that is inactive or contains mainly sales pitches you can always unjoin.
One more thing: LinkedIn groups are a great place to announce your latest book or a book that you’ve recently read and found helpful.
In the Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors & Writing Professionals group, Ruth Thaler-Carter shared information about another author’s upcoming book:
For those group members who write, or are thinking about writing, memoirs, there’s a new book coming out this week that should be helpful: _The Art of Memoir_ by Mary Karr. It’s based on the graduate seminar that Karr teaches at Syracuse University. She’s the author of _The Liar’s Club_, which will see a 20th-anniversary edition (Penguin Classics) in November. I’m guessing that her book would also be useful for those of us who edit or proofread memoirs as well.
Bottom Line: LinkedIn is not just an online resume. The groups are a great place to learn and share information with others in the industry. Spend a little time searching out the different groups and find a couple that interest you. You may be surprised by what you learn.