I’m sad to say that this will be my last post as a regular contributor to Pub(lishing)Crawl. As much as I truly love being a part of this blog, deadlines and touring have gotten the best of me at least for the time being. (And let’s face it, I’ve always been an erratic blogger at best. Need a thousand word rant on an episode of Game of Thrones? I’m there. Tidy round-up post on likeable characters? My mind goes blank.)
But I’m gonna miss this badass crew of ladies, so before I turn in my gun and badge, and walk slowly into the sunset with sad music playing, I want to say a bit about the importance of community for new authors.
Most writers are, to one degree or another, introverts, and I’m no exception. But after my book sold, I wasn’t sure what came next, so I joined a Los Angeles-based organization for YA authors (the LAYAs), as well as a debut group for authors with books set to release in 2012 (the Apocalypsies). Through them I met future convention roommates, generous beta readers, the occasional drinking buddy, and of course the wonderful peeps who invited me to PubCrawl. As it turns out, there are a lot of good reasons to stop playing lone wolf and join a pack:
1. Knowledge. It’s great to be able to share information and experiences with fellow authors. You can ask questions about contracts, editorial letters, planning appearances. Should I make a book trailer? What’s the best place to order bookmarks? How long did you have to wait for notes on your revisions? Publishing has a steep learning curve, so it helps to have friendly people to consult.
2. Commiseration. If the next book doesn’t sell or if you get thumped by a bad review, it’s nice to know other writers are going through the same thing. Twitter and Facebook tend to give a falsely sunny view of the writing life—Massive new book deal! Exceeded my word count! Going on tour! Having friends who aren’t afraid to admit that everything isn’t going swimmingly is a necessity.
3. Promotion. When you’re starting out on social media, it can feel like you’re shouting into the abyss. As your book launches or as you dig into events and giveaways, it’s great to have a signal boost. That said, when it comes to promotion, try not to think of it as some kind of quid pro quo. Which brings me to…
4. Celebration. Talking up books you love, sharing another writer’s blog post, turning out for a signing, retweeting a cover reveal, hosting a giveaway for another author’s book—these are all ways to help build the YA community and honestly, they always make me feel good. I think it was PubCrawl’s own Erin Bowman who said that every time you tweet about yourself, it feels like you’re creating a hoarcrux. Truth. But promoting someone else’s work? A lot more fun.
5. Familiar Faces. These are your people. Once you start promoting, you’re going to see your fellow authors in a lot of places: festivals, conventions, workshops, panels, signings. It’s nice to have someone save you a spot at lunch or to have somebody you can drag to a panel no one else wants to see. (I’ve done it. I’ll do it again. Why are you backing away? Don’t you want to learn about the History of European Banking? There will be activities!)
I’m going to miss PubCrawl more than you know, but I hope to be back to visit. This site is an incredible resource for aspiring authors, lovers of books, and anyone interested in publishing. It’s been an honor (and a lot of fun) to be part of such a smart, cool, generous community, and as a little farewell gift, I’m giving away your choice of one book from any of the authors on this blog. (You’re welcome to choose a future release as well. You’ll just have to wait a little longer.) Click here for a list of books, and use the Rafflecopter form to enter or just leave a comment below telling me something you love about PubCrawl.
Leigh Bardugo is the author of the New York Times Best Sellers, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she hides out in Hollywood where she creates glamour and ghouls in her other life as a makeup artist. Find her on twitter or tumblr.