I met Melissa Foster online and joined her WLC group as well as follow her Women's Nest. She is not only a brilliant marketer but she is a wonderful person. She stopped by today to tell us about how to utilize community in your marketing strategy and why community is important for books as well as you as a person.
First a little about Melissa...
She hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping women see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod. (no really there is more!) She is the award-winning author of three International bestselling novels, Megan's Way, Chasing Amanda, and Come Back to Me. She has also been published in Indie Chicks, an anthology. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, and the World Literary Cafe (previously WoMen's Literary Cafe), a cross-promotional site for authors, reviewers, bloggers, and readers. Melissa is currently collaborating in the film production of Megan's Way.
When Shelli invited me to write a guest post for her blog, she asked for something marketing related, and I’d just written several articles on marketing, so we decided to reach out a bit further, and talk about community. Luckily, community and marketing go hand in hand, so readers and authors will gain from reading this post.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you know I’m all about giving back and paying-it-forward. I try to meet and help as many people as I can each day. Part of the reason I do that is that I’m selfish—yup—I’m a chatterbox. I love to discuss books, writing, marketing, kids, exercise—you name it, I like to talk about it. Another reason I reach out is that I believe in the power of community. I’m not speaking of geographical communities or religious communities, although they each hold their own appeal. I’m speaking of the basic definition of community: A group sharing common characteristics of interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.
Becoming part of a community can be intimidating. It can also be exciting. I’m not one to be swayed by intimidation, and I’m not one to foster it, either. I believe in building communities based on giving more to others than you receive. Communities have many benefits, not only can you gain friendships, and feel a sense of belonging to something bigger than you might have imagined, but you can also gain valuable advice, mentors, critiques, and yes, even expand your outreach.
I am being very careful with this article. I don’t want to give you a sales pitch for our literary community, World Literary Café, but I am pulling from experience. I founded and run The Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women (sorry guys), and the friendships and support that I have gained from the women on the Nest (my Nest Sisters), has pulled me through tough times and given me reason to celebrate happier times. The Nest has become my go-to site in the mornings and the last place I visit before going to bed. I value the friendships, and the advice. Moreover, knowing there are others out there, in this fast-paced world of ours, who take the time to slow down and reach out, makes life just that much more enjoyable.
The World Literary Café has just begun to develop its own community. It’s not an easy endeavor, and it takes time for authors and readers to see the value in getting to know people a bit more intimately—beyond 140 characters, beyond pubic updates, and quippy sentences. Slowly and surely, WLC is growing into a caring community, involving all aspects of the literary world, from authors to readers, from reviewers and bloggers, to literary services such as editors and cover artists.
WLC Tweet Teams and Authors Hosting Authors forums have helped many increase sales and reach wider audiences—but those forums have done far more than something monetary. They’ve provided a venue for friendships with like-minded people.
If you’re a reader looking to get to know authors on a one-on-one basis, or looking for recommendations of books, you might try our Reader’s Forums, and while you’re on the site, check out the Readers Start Here page to see how you can get more involved. If you’re an author looking for writing advice, editors, or ways to market your books, check out our Authors Start Here page. Literary Services can get listed, too, by following our Editors, Artists, Small Press menu link.
Community is about friendship. It is about supporting and being supported. WLC is about community. Join us, we’re waiting to meet you.
Other places Melissa hangs out:
Chat w/me on The Women's Nest
Leave Melissa some questions. If you comment or ask a question, I have a free giveaway of each of her books in ebook (4 books total) and I will draw names :)