Raise your hand if you’ve ever belonged to a writing group locally or online.
If so, you’re in good company. Most of us creative types have. Let’s face it: Writing is, by nature, a very solitary (and sometimes lonely) pursuit. Participating in writing groups allows us to connect and collaborate with like-minded individuals, receive feedback on our work, and ultimately improve our craft. And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the fun factor, too! A former client of mine started a literary group that actually travels around the world together as a membership benefit.
As the founder and president of a community-based poetry group for more than a decade, I can attest first-hand to the many advantages writing groups afford. Forming my own group provided an extra bonus. It unexpectedly evolved into a source of additional revenue to the tune of hundreds of dollars per year! And, it can for you, too.
So let’s explore a few things you’ll need to consider in the developmental stage to optimize your efforts and maximize your earnings:
THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP
Some groups require a certain amount of publishing credits to qualify for “professional” membership. Others dictate that you live in a certain geographical area for participation. And, some are formed based upon genre of interest.
THE FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS
Once a week or once a month are popular frequency choices. It all depends upon the availability of group members, the availability of the meeting facility, and the desires of the group. Poll potential members to find out what works best for the majority.
AMOUNT OF DUES/MEMBERSHIP FEES
Dues vary depending upon the services and resources provided and income goals. A fellow writer once shared with me that she pays $25.00 a month for her writing group. In exchange, members get monthly feedback within their critique group, meeting refreshments, and the opportunity to participate in a group anthology.
You can charge monthly, quarterly, or annually. You can also establish different types and levels of membership at different prices (i.e. professional, associate, student). You should create membership cards accordingly.
A MEETING PLACE
My group gets together at a local library or at my home. Yours can be held at your place or at a local coffeehouse. Or, you can rotate between members’ homes.
RULES AND GUIDELINES
How will decisions be made? How often will dues be collected? Will there be a Facebook Group for discussions in between meetings? These are a few things to contemplate.
Now that we’ve covered the basic foundation issues, here are three common ways you can generate income from this pursuit.
To keep things interesting, and to add to my bottom line, I host movie and pizza nights, meet and greets, field trips, literary tours, and vendors’ events where non-members are also allowed to join the festivities. You can, too. To publicize these activities, simply create flyers to post around town, promote it on your group’s blog, website and via social media, and share via word of mouth.
Anthologies are a great way to showcase the collective talents and individual “voices” of your group members. It’s also a means by which to charge a participation fee to earn a profit for your time and project management, sell your published works, and conduct book signings to sell books.
Starting your own writing group is a fantastic way to earn and learn from others and cultivate important alliances. Remember, there is strength in numbers.
- How to Compile and Publish an Anthology – Part I
- How I Made Good Money from a BAD Book Review (and, you can, too!) – By Jennifer Brown Banks
- Need Another Revenue Stream? Try Business Storytelling! – by Christina R. Green
- Think You Can’t Expand into Other Genres? Think Again! – by Debra Johanyak
- Market Your Book By Creating An Interactive Game On Facebook! – By K.M. Robinson
- Finding Fellowships: Getting Paid to Write By Aviya Kushner
Jennifer Brown Banks is a professional blogger and ghostwriter. Her work has appeared at Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, and Daily Blog Tips. Banks also teaches online writing classes at Coffeehouseforwriters.com. Her blog was chosen as a Top 10 Writing Blogs Finalist at Write to Done’s annual competition for 2011/12. Visit her at: http://Penandprosper.blogspot.com.
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