Joining a Professional Authors Organizations vs. Author Forums

There's an old joke about a man trying to sell an air conditioner at an air conditioner sales convention. Concerning this experience he had some clear-cut advice for prospective salespeople. This advice was summed up in two words: DON'T TRY! Common sense asks, he said, who would buy an air conditioner from you when they are trying to sell one of their own. You might apply the same advice to joining authors' forums if you want to sell your book.

Now I have joined professional authors' organizations and have met some very wonderful and helpful people. These are authors who have worked hard to achieve success and are generous in sharing ideas, selling strategies, and helping others navigate the ever-changing world of publishing. These organizations also have professionally organized events which are attended by top agents and acquisition editors. I highly recommend that you, as an author, join a good professional authors' group in your genre where you will meet those who have been successful in your field and aid you in your own quest to becoming a top-selling author.

On the other hand, if selling your book is your top priority, you should be skeptical of joining author/book forums where your book is just a bit of flotsam in the sea of books being pushed. Very few authors are interested in anything other than making their own sales. That's reality and that's understandable; after all we are all in the book selling business. However, your book mixed in with thousands of others on Facebook groups will have a hard time being noticed. You may very well make some friends and that is nice but it is not why you joined in the first place. You have to be realistic and understand that selling your book is a business, your business, and as CEO you have to find places to showcase your book. The social media should be used as a business tool.

So, am I saying that you shouldn't join authors' forums? Not at all. I recommend that you do join. It is good throughout your career as an author to check out all author groups and forums. It may not be a place where you will sell many books but it is a place where you can bounce ideas around and possibly learn a few things. While you will see thousands, (no exaggeration), of books offered for sale with links to Amazon and other online venues, you can also find out about book cover designs, fonts, Adobe Illustrator, etc; these are some topics that are frequently covered in forums. Any learning experience in the book business can be beneficial. Ask questions, take notes, and learn. Find out if any of the authors you meet on social media also belong to professional organizations that may interest you. Truthfully being part of an organization that counts best-selling authors among their members is not only good for your writing self-esteem but can be a good PR tool when listed as part of your author bio.

I am a big fan of social media but when my book FOR I HAVE SINNED debuted my publisher advised me to have two distinct FB pages; a personal page for friends, forums, and groups, and a professional page that showcases my current books as well as anything to do with signings, book launches, and appearances. Doing that and being a dues-paying member of several professional author organizations that afforded me strong publishing contacts has benefited me tremendously, both in book sales and publicity.

There are emotional benefits to the social authors' forums. Because you have something in common as writers, you share a much-needed bond with others who understand you and your chosen career so much more than your family and friends. It can be good therapy to vent your frustrations, discuss your work, your hopes, and share your successes.

Make your life as an author successful and fulfilling. You need both the social and professional aspects of writing and, for success, you need to keep them separate.

Happy writing!

Grave Misgivings, book 2 in the popular Cate Harlow Private Investigation series is now available where all books are sold.

Copyright 2015 Kristen Houghton The Savvy Author all rights reserved