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4 Ways to Get Involved in the Online Writing Community

Times Square on New Year's EveWhen you bring your writer career online, it can feel a lot like standing in the middle of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. You look around and see people everywhere, but none of them give you a second glance. How do you connect with those all around you?

In reality, the size of the online writing community can be a real asset to your development as an author, but you have to know how to most effectively tap into it.  No matter which way you like to communicate online, here are some options for getting started:


LitChats occur every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Twitter from 4-5pm ET. They are a fast-paced, fun way to connect with other writers and discuss current topics and issues around the publishing scene. There may sometimes  be a slight bias toward traditional publishing in LitChat, but it is becoming more and mroe friendly to self-publishers, so join the discussion! Not in the Eastern time zone or busy at 4? Search the #litchat hashtag at any time to chime in on that day’s topic.


Hash ArtWhat’s a hashtag, you might ask? Hashtags, another Twitter feature, are shortcuts to searches on Twitter that help you connect with others discussing a similar topic. They begin with a pound sign (#, also known as a hash) followed by the tag/keyword itself (hash + tag, get it?). The list of common hashtags for authors grows every day, but here are a few of the ones you’ll see most often:

  • #amwriting – #Amwriting is used by authors discussing what they’re currently working on as well as those who post resources for those writers. It’s a very busy hashtag, with about 30 or so posts every 5 minues, so it’s always easy to jump in and connect with fellow authors.
  • #myWANA – Formed by Kristen Lamb, this tag stands for My (as in my book) and We Are Not Alone. It’s a less busy, but high-quality way to connect and commiserate with other writers. If you need a pick-me-up, you’ll likely find a kindred spirit in #myWANA.
  • #selfpublishing, #selfpub – these tags all have to do with all of you indie authors out there (whom we love). Use these to connect with people and resources for indie authors. #SelfPublishing is usually the most active, but they are often used interchangeably — often dependent upon the length of their tweet!


GoodReads is a community of both book authors and lovers. It has become well-known in the indie publishing community as a great way to build an audience for their books. It’s free and easy to sign up, and a membership allows you to review books, add friends, join groups and more. Use it as a way to get your book out there, as well as help out other authors and books you love! Be sure to add Duolit as a friend so we can check out your book and what else you’re reading!


MeetingCommunities bring together a wide range of authors with common interests, usually integrating blogs, a forum and other ways to connect. The most popular community in the self-publishing sphere is the Self-Publishing Review, which publishes high-quality blogs, fosters communal goodwill and tackles some of the biggest problems out there for self-publishers. It’s absolutely free to join and you can jump into the discussion right away!

Talk Back

What are your favorite ways to get involved in the online writing community? Let us know in the comments!

  • Great ideas–I agree with all of them. :) Just a FYI–I tried clicking on the last link for the Self Publishing Review, but it brings me back here to this post. Just wanted to let you know.

    Nice resources/tools here on this blog! Thanks so much for all the help. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

    • Toni

      Whoops! Sorry about that, everyone — the link is now fixed!

  • I got to know lots of the people in #MyWANA through an online course from Warrior Writers that Kristen Lamb gave. We all talked through a Yahoo loop, giving input & suggestions on each others’ blogs. Then we found each other on Twitter & Facebook… started following and became a nice community of supportive writers.
    Another way to find that communtiy is to search ‘Writers’ Groups’ on Facebook. There are hundreds! I was lucky to join HpMallory’s Online Writers Club early, and we all bonded and joined other sites like Goodreads and Twitter together. A publishing company has been born out of that group, and everyone helps with input and info on book covers and art sites and writing… it’s an extremely supportive group of people.
    Last, simply commenting, following, & joining others’ blogs & working on a regular relationship with their writers is a great way to jump in there and get to know people. Writers are very welcoming and supportive, so don’t be shy!

    • Toni

      Those are great tips, Pamela! I think I might have to do a Part 2 and incorporate some of your suggestions. Thanks for the comment! :-)

  • If you like writing short stories or poetry, join the eFiction Authors and contribute to a monthly fiction magazine that goes out to thousands of subscribers.

  • Thanks so much for this post. I’m relatively new to Twitter and feel exactly as you described – Times Square. I’ll be checking out all the things you mentioned.

  • Toni

    Thanks, Hope! I think Twitter, in particular, can definitely give you that Times Square feeling. I hope some of the above methods help!

  • Great post. Love the hashtag tips. I’ve been using #pubwrite which is a group of fun writers. But you should also create a hashtag for your own book. I asked my twitter pals to help me choose one. It had to be something that was not going to be used all of the time in unrelated tweets. I chose #properorder (My novel is called “The Proper Order of Things”) At first I didn’t think it would catch on, but it didn’t take long.

    I’m going to add this post to my Scoop It on Self-Publishing Ideas. Thanks! https://www.scoop.it/t/self-publishing-ideas

    • Toni

      That’s a great point about creating a hashtag to promote your book, Tara! We’ll be sure to add that tip in future marketing posts. Thanks for the comment (and for the addition to your Scoop It)!

  • Thanks! I also get that Times Square feeling. And I did not know what a hashtag was. So much to learn…so little time :-)
    My favorite ways to get involved in the publishing community? I am still searching. I have visited some forums where I didn’t even comment due to the vicious banter, and am learning to seek out helpful and friendly advice. The friendly is not so important, just a bonus. But the helpful, constructive criticism–that builds rather than tears down, is a must. I find that here, and on numerous blogs I have located through Twitter. Twitter has been an excellent place to find other writers and writing advice posts. Facebook, not so much. I will check out Goodreads.

    • Toni

      Hi Teresa! We found the same thing in most writing forums — the banter can get a bit vicious (and oftentimes anti-indie-publishing). We’re trying to remedy that with our Indie Ninja forum, but it’s definitely an uphill climb. Best of luck in finding the ways to connect that work best for you :-)

  • Do you have a tag for readers? I love writers, and connect with many but I NEED READERS!!!!

    • Toni

      Hi Gael! There are definitely some hashtags out there for readers — give #reading a try. Other than that, try looking up hashtags that your target audience might use. #Horror and #SciFi are two common genre tags, but you can do a search on hashtags.org to find others that may me more applicable to your book. We’ll do a most on this in the future, because it’s extremely important to follow potential readers, not just fellow writers.

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  • Thanks Shannon and Toni, this is a great post! I have been looking for more twitter chats to get involved in and hope to join the litchat one tomorrow!

    Goodreads is a great way to meet authors and readers, and the communities on there are great. I also recommend SheWrites, AbsoluteWrite & my own site LadiesWhoCritique for support through the forums and articles.

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  • This was an extremely informative post. I have been on twitter for almost 2 years now and have never known about some of the hash tags you mention in order to find other writers, readers or chats. Thanks so much.

  • Thank you. I really appreciate the advice and how open and accepting the people are in the writing world. No one has been rude or “standoffish” to this newbie.
    thank you!

  • Kevin Hanrahan

    Great article. Thank you for the hints and information to become a more productive part of the community!

  • Excellent piece, I’ll be diving in : ) Thanks for this Toni. xx

    • You’re quite welcome, Yasmin! It’s been great seeing you around the interwebs :-)

  • Thank you so much for this! I got my platform up and running a few months ago after reading Kristen’s book (We Are Not Alone), but with my turbulent lifestyle, I haven’t been able to put much time into the writerly world.

    This post is exactly what I needed to get back in the game. :)

    • Woohoo! Thanks, Ed. I *love* Kristin’s work as well — I’m so glad we could give you that push to dive back in :-)

  • Christie Palmer

    Toni you are the godess of indie writing thanks for you time and information

    • *blush* Thank you, Christie! I’m so glad the info was helpful :-)

  • Wow! So helpful! Thanks for sharing such great info, and keep up the good work!!

  • Very helpful thanks. #amwriting and #mywana are revelations, Twitter is slowly opening up for me. Keep up the great work you are doing.