What is it about the Catholic Writers Guild that makes networking so fulfilling? For five years, I have attended the live conferences and learned much from the sessions on how to write better and market better. I gained even more from the relationships formed with Catholic writers across the continent.
More than three years ago I began blogging and found an almost transparent network of like-minded Catholic bloggers who inspired me, helped me with technical know-how, critiqued my work and called me on to greater publications outside my little blog world.
Many CWG writers have helped me, especially those in my critique groups, and I have only met a few of them in person. No matter, we understand what the other writers believe and what’s important to them. We trust one another with our manuscripts. We work for the good of the other writer.
My education and career in journalism gave me a head start in editing skills, enabling me to give back a little. Others gave me their time to show me the nuances of blogging and social media that I lacked. No, it wasn’t that we purposely traded one-on-one, keeping score so that no one got more than they gave. It was rather an economy of grace where we give to another member of the body of Christ and miraculously receive what we need from some other part of that body.
The blog tour
The marketing phenomenon that illustrates this synergy is the blog tour. I must have participated in a dozen or more of these round-robin book promotions in the last couple of years. I learned much about marketing, networking and publishing by hosting one day of one blog tour at a time under the guidance of savvy authors. The complimentary books I received from my author mentors are special because I feel a sense of pride in helping introduce them. The blog tour posts were a needed change for my readers and for me.
As I sent book proposal after book proposal to publishers over the last few years, I visualized my own blog launch tour with some of the authors I’d supported. Imagine my surprise when my first publication was not a book but a DVD. Videotaping my evangelization seminar for a DVD was not how I intended to further my publishing career. Nevertheless that’s what evolved as the next step. I’ll spare you all the trials in getting the DVD on the market. I made enough mistakes to help a dozen seminar speakers.
I’m now in the middle of my blog tour launching my “Sharing YOUR Faith Story, a three-part seminar for evangelization.” After all, I learned how to promote books for others, why not use that expertise to get my DVD into the hands of those who need it? Many of the authors I blogged reviews for were not available for my blog tour, and some newer blogging friends joined my team. All are CWG members.
The abundance mentality
My relationships in the Catholic Writers Guild are human, not perfect, but generosity reigns. The open-heartedness of those in my CWG network approaches that of the abundance mentality: there’s plenty for everyone. In applying it to writing, there’s plenty of ways to publish your work, plenty of resources to share with other writers, plenty of opportunities to help others. Where else do you find this attitude, especially in the business world?
We are blessed as Christian writers to find grace at work among us. We are doubly blessed as members of the body of Christ known as the Catholic Writers Guild.
(© 2015 Nancy HC Ward)