Hi, all! Ava Pennington here from Florida…where the temperature has cooled to a mere 85 degrees. That’s about as much change in seasons as we’ll get until our version of winter finally arrives.
Seasons. They’re not limited to the calendar and the weather. We move through seasons of life as we parent babies and teenagers, experience empty nests and become caregivers for our own parents. Writing adds another layer to already full lives. So let’s talk about seasons in a writer’s life…and in the lives of CAN members.
Season 1: I Want to be a Writer
You might have been in third grade or a freshman in college when you realized you loved to write. Perhaps you began to write then – a diary, journal, short stories, maybe even a full-length book. Or not. Maybe, like me, you followed a corporate career track, putting your writing dreams on hold.
Season 2: I Am a Writer
You had been writing for a while, but when anyone asked about it, you brushed off their questions with a self-conscious shrug. “Oh, that? That’s just a hobby.” It was more than a hobby, but you weren’t ready to tell anyone. Why? Because the first thing they’d want to know is if you’ve had anything published. A question no writer wants to answer if the answer is no. Then one day, you stood straight, squared your shoulders, and spoke the words aloud. “Yes, I am a writer.”
Season 3: I Want to be an Author
Is there a difference between being a writer and an author? I believe so. A writer writes for private enjoyment. A writer writes because they can’t not write. An author writes for publication. But to be published, we had to actually show others what we’ve written. Not just show them, but open ourselves to critique. The truth may hurt, but without truthful and sometimes painful edits early in our careers, publication often remains out of reach. Still, who wants to hear their baby is ugly?
Season 4: I Am an Author
You attended writers’ conferences. Joined writers’ groups. Read books on writing. And you wrote. After mounds of rejection letters – enough to wallpaper a room in your house – you finally held the golden ticket: an acceptance letter for your work. An agent chose to take you on. A publisher published your book. Someone considered your work to be commercially viable. Enough so that they even paid you. Was it an article? A short story? Or the Great American Novel? Whatever it was, you are now an author.
Season 5: Platform, Platform, Platform
In the real estate business, location is everything. In the publishing business, platform is everything. Once we’ve written a fabulous book, we must market it. No matter how moving the story is or how helpful the non-fiction premise, it won’t matter if readers don’t read it. So we market. We tweet. We post. We travel. We speak. We sign. And we do it all over again in a never-ending cycle. But that’s okay, because we’re authors.
Season 6: I’m Not a One-Story Wonder
You held your first book in your hand, thrilled beyond imagination. Your baby was in print, for all to read. But a frightening question haunted you. Could you do it again? Did you have another book in you? To compound your worries, not only did you have to write another book, you were still marketing your first book. Writer? Author? Marketer? Yes. Yes. Yes. Circus jugglers could learn a thing or two from us!
So what’s my point? It’s that publishing is not for lone rangers. It’s not for anyone who thinks they can go it alone. We need each other. We need critique partners, beta readers, and influencers. And even though words are our medium, we also need friends who understand without a word being spoken.
We also need each other as fellow published authors. The Christian Author’s Network – CAN – is proof of that. “We are a group of published Christian authors who have joined together in a supportive association to spread the news about books to book lovers everywhere. We operate as a cooperative, Christ-centered venture, to encourage and teach one another, and get the word out about CAN authors’ books.”
Here in CAN, we’re entering a new season, as well. We’re taking our supportive association to a new level. We don’t just want to tell our members about ways to market their books; we want to open doors for each other. We’re calling it Network It Forward.
Did you just complete a beneficial radio interview? Consider which fellow CAN member you might recommend to your interviewer for their next guest. Are you an expert on writing press releases? Consider writing a slam-bang press release for a fellow CAN member whose book is releasing this month. Practical ways to bless others by being a blessing.
In this new season, let’s move beyond theory to a practical outworking of our supportive network. It’s the new CAN way. How can you help?