Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Support Your Published Author

by Julie Coulter Bellon

One of the best things I did when I became a published author was to join an author’s guild called LDStorymakers. Storymakers is a group of about 130 authors who support, help, and encourage one another through email lists. It was created by Rachel Nunes (and the idea was born when she was signing at a Book Festival I’d put together so I take a teeny bit of credit for that, haha). But, since writing is such a lonely business, Rachel wanted to have a place for authors where they could reach out, find friendship, and have a place to go where people understood the idiosyncrasies of authors. That small original group has grown to our current numbers, and Rachel has passed the torch along to me, as I am currently serving as the chairman of LDStorymakers.

I think the thing I love most about this group is that you never know what topics will come up. For example, we had an author who needed to know what happens to a human body after it’s been immersed in water for two weeks. Another author is a police officer by trade and described in great detail what happens (yeah, not an email you want to read while eating your lunch). We have an author who is a pharmacist who was able to help with a murder scene involving prescription drugs. We’ve had emails about foreign language, CIA/FBI procedures, along with the celebratory emails when a work is accepted and consolation emails when a work is rejected. We’ve shared marketing ideas with each other, strange/weird/incredible book signing experience stories, and the trends in the market. Anything relating to writing has more than likely come up in our list conversations. It’s just fun to have a group of people who get you and your craft, you know? And I’ve learned much more than I ever dreamed I would.

Another thing I really enjoy about our group is the diversity. We have horror writers, romance writers, suspense writers, non-fiction authors, fiction authors, and authors from almost every publishing house you can think of, and we’re still growing. I love hearing opinions from national authors as well as local authors, I love getting to know other writers and how they do things, and I love working side by side as we strive to give back to the community and help aspiring authors.

One of the ways we give back is that LDStorymakers puts on a first rate writers conference every year with classes for beginning and advanced writers. The conference also has agents who fly in from all over the country that our attendees can pitch their manuscripts to, it has a first chapter contest that is unsurpassed, and it has a great atmosphere for learning the craft and business of writing. This year’s conference is going to be held May 6-7 and our keynote is Larry Brooks. I’m really excited about it, and if you’re interested in more information you can go here.

I think my point today is that even when you are a published author, it’s still nice to have resources like an author’s guild, or an author’s group that can give you needed support. It’s fun to share things like marketing ideas that worked, book signing ideas that weren’t so great, and what you are doing with your current work in progress. It’s nice to have a place to share thoughts and feelings about the process, about a class you’re teaching/attending, a place to ask for tips on your query letter, or just to sit around and shoot the breeze. I am so privileged to be a part of LDStorymakers, and even more so to be serving as chairman right now. It’s such a wonderful group of people that I look up to and admire and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have them in my life and not only because of what they've brought to me in my writing career. I really can call them my friends.

So, if you don’t have a writing support group? Get one! It’s worth it.


At 3/03/2011 10:42 PM, Blogger Krista said...

I can't wait until I can join LDStorymakers! I don't know what I'd do without my writing group and my Twitter authors. Thanks, Julie!

At 3/04/2011 9:17 AM, Blogger Danyelle Ferguson said...

Support is paramount. Where I live, there's a very little available for writers. Not really any writers groups, no conferences. I'm so grateful for my LDStorymakers membership and my awesome Authors Incognito online group. It's amazing the relationships you can develop online. I'm always super excited for the Storymakers conference to roll around so I see everyone in person. =)

At 3/04/2011 11:55 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

I love Storymakers and am so grateful for the support of other authors, both published and pre-published. And like Danyelle, most of my writing relationships are formed online, so I'm grateful for that resource.

I'm excited for the Storymakers conference!

At 3/04/2011 6:27 PM, Blogger Debra Erfert said...

I'm looking forward to the LDStorymakers conference this year. I've signed up for my classes, found a nice place to sleep, and even bought ten minutes with a literary agent to pitch my manuscript.

I'm not eligible to be a member of LDStorymakers-yet, but ANWA will take any LDS woman, published or not. They are my on-line (life-line) sounding board and critiquing partners.

See you at the conference. You’ll be able to recognize me. I’ll be the brunette with her head down and her eyes pinned to the carpet.


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