I just got back from the ACFW conference in Denver, so I'm still catching my breath. I had a great time and came back refreshed and ready to tackle the final edits on the book I've been working on over the summer. While I was there, I attended a workship called "The University of Fiction Five Hour Degree" held by Karen Ball and Allen Arnold. Well, I say I attended. I missed the first session because I was scheduled to work the registration desk. But that's okay. I enjoyed chatting with people who dropped by, asking questions that ranged from "Where's the bathroom?" to "Where in the world is this workshop?" to "I don't think I'm registered but I'm supposed to be here." You learn a lot at the registration desk. But back to the workshop. I learned from my roommates Winnie Griggs and Marta Perry (who both did attend the first session) that as writers in today's world, we all need a tribe. This premise is based on the book "Tribe" by Seth Godin. Basically, it's a word of mouth community that follows us and passed the word about our books. It's all about social networking, blogging, twitter and anything else we can do to get our names out there. I'd never thought about my readers and friends as a tribe, but I like that concept. After all, it takes a village... right?
But what does this have to do with writing suspense? Well, everything. We work hard on our books and we work hard to do all the right things as far as marketing our books? But how do we know if our tribe is tight and if we're doing the right things? I've always touted word of mouth as the best form of adversting. I learned this after working in marketing for many years and taking all sorts of marketing classes in college. But ... having been raised to be meek and mild (I know some of you are laughing at that) I've never been comfortable tooting my own horn. I was taught it's not polite to brag. People frown on it. Now I have to retrain my brain to brag just a bit. Maybe marketing isn't bragging. Maybe it's just getting the word out that you have a story to tell and you hope people will like that story. After all, there are a lot of horns out there, and all of them seem to be loud and colorful and in your face. Maybe my little horn does need tooting???
So, when we write our romantic suspense books that involve danger and intrigue and hopefully a happy ever after, too, we try to make our stories compelling, believable and entertaining. But we also try to add that faith elements that helps our characters get through the worst of circumstances. I guess in the end, our tribe begins with our faith, our churches, our families, our communities, and our world. We then branch out, offering our stories to the world at large. And that is as scary as any suspense we could ever write. So ... what do you think about having a tribe? Whether you're a writer, a stay-at-home mom, a nurse, a minister, a secretary or a retired senior citizen--we all need a tribe, right?
Fascinating subject and one I intend to explore. Even if I missed the workshop, I know my tribe will always be there to offer me advice and encouragement. Thank goodness!