I’m a lover of LinkedIn. It’s not the coolest of the social networks, but it’s stable and reliable – the information stays still long enough for you to absorb it. I particularly like the groups, as there are lots of lively discussions related to every field you can think of.
I was a member of several writers’ groups and while there were many excellent discussions, I felt that they had a Stateside slant. I wished that there was an equivalent group for Irish writers, but there wasn’t one. Feeling the lack, I decided to set up one of my own. I called it Irish Writers, Editors and Publishing Professionals.
I wanted the group to be a meeting point for people in the Irish book industry, where they could get information that was relevant to the Irish book market and publishing scene. I wrote up rules, I invited all the Irish book types in my LinkedIn contact list, and I started to post up discussions. I opened up the group to writers, editors, people who owned publishing companies, booksellers, and anyone in a book related post. My definition of Irish is quite loose too. As well as Irish people living in Ireland, it’s open to Irish people living abroad, people from abroad living in Ireland and people whose parents are Irish.
Many of the discussions are centred on writing, but there are also discussions about all aspects of publishing, particularly self publishing. We discuss editing techniques, book trends and ways of publicising your writing. I put particularly informative discussions into the Manager’s Choice section, so that they’re easy to access. They contain valuable resources for authors and publishers. For example, there’s information about how to deal with book distributors like Eason and Argosy.
When you run a group, you get to write the rules. This gives you great power. I’m able to get rid of any posts that are overly promotional or that contain overly personal remarks. I can decide who can and can’t join the group. People must request to join and if there is no explicit mention of Ireland or the book industry on their profile. I send them a polite note querying their interest in the group. When they reply, I usually accept them.
Progress of the Group
In the first few months, progress was slow. Some bloody mindedness persuaded me to continue, and I kept posting five discussions per week. I had just enough interest to keep it going. I was working on the assumption that for every 10 people who joined, four would never engage, four would never post but would read the posts and two would actually post replies to the discussions.
My persistence paid off. As time went on, people joined and were willing to take an active part in the discussion. Now the group is the resource I want it to be. People post valuable information and humorous and insightful comments. There’s a considerable library of Irish-centric book information for people to dip in and out of. In particular, there are some self published authors who are very savvy and generous in sharing their experience.
I founded the group in July 2013 and it now has 116 members. If you’re on LinkedIn and you feel you fit the criteria I’ve outlined in the post and you would like to find out more, check out the group.
What LinkedIn groups have you found useful in your writing or general book journey?
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