Start with a dream
What is your dream? Is it to be able to give up work and spend your days writing, creating an income being an author?
That’s what I wanted to do. I published a novel and quickly realised that simply putting it up on Amazon did not mean it was going to sell. How about getting a spread in the local newspaper – still no sales. A friend I knew had also just published their children’s book and was having the same issues – how to get people to even see your book?
Getting together to increase book sales
After a lot of discussion, we realised that the answer might lie in numbers. If we could get one or two other local independent authors together, we could hire a venue and sell a few books that way. We put the word out and invited local authors who were struggling like us to come and join us. We had half a dozen at our first meeting, and the numbers grew to over twenty. We sold our books at events which we set up with the combined input, energy and finances that the group generated. We created a CIC (Community Interest Company), wrote our own self-publishing book and ran workshops that included experts in PR, a newspaper editor, cover designer and editing. It was also a great way to meet local people, get our names out there and raise our profiles – hard work but worth it.
Should you create an LGBTQ+ network?
The group was not LGBTQ+ specific, but there is no reason for not setting up just such a supportive network, for and with, likeminded writers and authors in your area or further afield. Combining the talents, contacts and the resources of other LGBTQ+ writers will give you so much of what you cannot do on your own – introductions to LGBTQ+ allies, help and advice in all sorts of areas of writing, editing and publishing online, and a lot of emotional support, which is vital when things inevitably don’t go according to plan.
Setting up your group is not a breeze. You have to be able to get on with a wide variety of personalities. And don’t fall into the trap of doing all the work yourself, but the rewards of comradeship and, importantly, sales of your book to a wider audience than you could reach doing it all by yourself, is priceless.
Alone, it will not get you to the point of being able to give up work and pay your bills, but it will get you on the road to that destination.
Good luck and do let me know if you run, or are a member of, a LGBTQ+ writer’s group and what your experience has been like.
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