Tuesday, October 25, 2016


This morning, as my husband and I mowed, trimmed, and watered our yard, I started thinking about how much more people accomplish when they work together. A couple of weeks ago, my husband rented and ran a verticutter, I bought and laid grass seed and starter fertilizer, and we both kept the lawn moist for ten days. As a result, we have a lush, green carpet surrounding our house. And I don’t think either of us would have done as well all alone.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra…” wrote H.E. Luccock.

Ken Blanchard said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

“In union there is strength,” Aesop contended.

John Donne, of course, wrote, “No man is an island.”

I like this one, credited to Chuck Page: “A single leaf working alone provides no shade.”

One leaf affords a tiny spot of shade, you might argue, and that’s enough for an ant. Some writers want to do it all alone. “Oh, no,” they say, “A critique group will try to change my style.” I’ve found, however, that collaborating with other writers improves my work as well as my promotional efforts. When I wrote my first book, the vision dancing in my head was my lone self, working in a lonely room, editing and formatting over and over and over, with no input from anyone else. (The term dark garret comes to mind.)

That first book, CATastrophic Connections: A Psycho Cat and the Landlady Mystery, was born with many flaws that I later revised with the help of many others.
Since then, I’ve joined a critique group. Its members have provided invaluable suggestions and proofreading expertise. I belong to mystery writers’ groups, book promotion groups, and several online author groups that share tips and answer questions. I post on blogs that help me promote my identity as an author.
FURtive Investigation, the second book (for which I used a photo of my attic garret for the cover) turned out better because I collaborated. Nine LiFelines, my most recent book, turned out even better from the start because of all the unselfish writers I’ve encountered in these groups.

Sharing promotions is a great way for authors to help one another. Book signing events, Facebook promotions, and giveaways are more fun and often more successful with fellow authors. Read what Olga Núñez Miret had to say about multi-author promotions. Authors can collaborate in blog tours, such as those arranged by Great Escapes Book Tours, or host other authors on blogs like James R. Callan’s Authors Blog or Chris the Story Reading Ape’s Authors Hall of Fame. “It takes a village” may have been an old African proverb, or it may have come from a Native American tribe. Those old folks knew.


jrlindermuth said...

We writers are envious critters. But I've found few others as generous with their time and advice. as well as reaching out to help in whatever way they can.

Joyce Ann Brown said...

Absolutely. Everyone wants to help fellow writers. I've met so many great people since I've been writing.

Carol Mitchell said...

I keep thinking that I need to get out there, I need a critique group. I tried it once and it was helpful to some extent but I think that you really have to find the 'right' group and that has been my challenge, not so much finding the group but defining what 'right' means!

Joyce Ann Brown said...

I lucked into a special critique group, I'm sure. But I also found a group interested in helping each other with promotion and a group interested in discussing good writing. My online groups have been extremely helpful, too. Keep looking if you think you need a group. You'll surely find one.

Liane Spicer said...

I'm a go-it-alone kind of writer. Never joined a critique group (can't find the elusive "right" group) but I do have three beta readers who critique my completed manuscripts. That's for the actual writing, but I've found that collaboration is vital for all the other aspects of publishing--from networking to sharing info about--well, everything. The authors I've met along the way, particularly through blogging, have been some of the most generous and helpful people I've ever met.

Maggie King said...

I'm soon to start my blog tour for Murder at the Moonshine Inn. I have a wonderful lineup. And I'm participating in a Dollycas tour at the end of November. In the coming months I plan to do a lot of guest posting---I may be asking one of you to host me!