Question: I spend a lot of time writing on my own, and working within a critique group. But I'm feeling disconnected from the greater writing community, especially when I think about finding places to submit my work for publication. Do you have any suggestions for how to find new writers and new writing to enjoy?
Finding new work is one of my favorite things. It's funny, because my experience of many writers is that they spend more time reading the work of others than they do actually writing, so I love that you have an opposite challenge. Here are some of the ways I discover new writers and their work.
Twitter I love connecting with other writers on twitter. I follow several publishers (including Greywolf, Milkweed, Copper Canyon Press, Red Hen Press, and more) and watch when they are tweeting about new publications. This gives me a chance to see new books being released, and connect with their authors (who are also often on Twitter). I also follow some independent bookstores (including Magers & Quinn, A Room of One's Own, and Boswell Books) and watch for notices of upcoming book signings and author readings.
I also follow other writers. I find that we tend to congregate, and through watching the tweets of writers I discover new authors and writers unfamiliar to me. It's a great and easy way to connect and learn about their work while also meeting them as people. Something I think we would all do well to remember.
Instagram Instagram is such a unique and curious place. It's a chance to connect more intimately with people, to catch a glimpse into their visual worlds. It's also a great way to discover what others are reading and enjoying. I find myself grabbing screenshots of my instagram feed as a way to remind myself books I want to order from the local library.
Hashtags On most social media, you'll find hashtags such as #amwriting #whatiamreading #amreading and many more related to writing and writers. I also enjoy the #bindercon and #binders hashtag for women writers. Searching these hashtags will connect you with writers and readers from around the globe who tag their posts, giving you access to an overwhelming abundance of new work to discover.
Bookstores and Libraries These are places where book lovers congregate. The folks who staff them love reading, and possibly writing. They will often have sections of new releases prominently displayed, allowing patrons to easily discover books that you might not already know. Additionally, staff will also often have knowledge of books in certain genres, offering recommendations and advice for books similar to (or completely different from) ones you have already read.
Goodreads I admit, I'm not as much of a Goodreads user as I could be. I spend very little time in the browser actually browsing the internet, but the Goodreads community is invaluable for those who love the written word. Folks tend to be kind in their approach and generous in their knowledge. Any of the forums, review boards, or author pages can help you discover new authors to read and enjoy.
Where do you go for finding new work and new authors? I'd love to hear in the comments below!