Starting a Community Before Publishing


Have you always dreamed of publishing a book?

Me too. My love story with books started when I was two years old sitting below my towering bookcase, each shelved filled with children’s book. They intoxicated me as I flipped through their pages, not understanding the words but desperately wanting to.

I used to call the library “home” when I was in grade school. I’m willing to bet you fell in love with literature at a young age too.

Reading is an art of its own, but writing a book that others will read? Now that’s power.

So when is the right time to start writing a fiction novel or poetry collection or memoir? It might not be today, but there are steps you can take to build a community behind your writing before your book comes out.

Know which platform

My first experience with blogging was on Tumblr. I started as a fashion blogger, but started a new blog to post some of my poetry. My work visibility was low at first with only a few dozen shares for each poem, but then one popular poet got a hold of my work and shared it. Now the rest is history.

All it takes is a few influencers to share your work before it gets exposure. I have a few poems that have almost 300,000 shares a piece. Without my community, my work never would have seen that many eyes and I’m forever grateful.

You may also wish to set up a blog on Blogger, Wordpress, or Squarespace specifically for your writing. I have many friends who are authors that find a great deal of success this way, usually paired with social media efforts and smart marketing. Any way to brand yourself as a writer is a good thing.

Bravely share your writing

In order to build an audience passionate about your style of writing, it’s a no-brainer that you have to be willing to put your work out there. Sadly, this is a step some writers can’t convince themselves to take. As creatives, we fight an enormous amount of self-doubt every day, but we claim the victory when we share what we create. The goal is not to share all of your writing at once but rather sneak peeks to get more of your audience interested.

Don’t forget social media

I’ve shared some of my poetry on Twitter and Instagram, finding an interested audience on both social media platforms. Join Twitter chats for writers and connect with others. Pin your poems from a Word document screenshot or overlayed on a photograph. Add relevant hashtags on your poem when you share it on Instagram. Create a Facebook group for writers to share their newest work. The possibilities are endless! The golden rule: always stay active.

Support those who support you

It amazes me when I see popular writers who rarely engage in conversations with their fans. To me, this is the ultimate sin as a writer. Your community is who will launch your writing into success, helping it reach those who need to hear your words most, so authentically engage with them whenever possible. They are helping you reach your dreams. That deserves a huge thank you.

Give yourself time

Don’t expect to go viral in a matter of days. There are millions of writers sharing their work online. I’m not saying this to scare you, but rather to put things into perspective. It’s very rare to become an overnight success in this field, but you don’t have to be in order to be successful.

Writing takes persistence, a healthy dose of humility, an overflowing pool of inspiration, and a lot of guts. Start building your community today. You’ll thank yourself when you become a best-selling author.

Have you built a community prior to releasing your book? Do you find value in writing communities? Let me know your experience in the comment section below!

Kayla Hollatz