If you are a writer, then you are a reader—who admires published writers.
Last month, I wrote about those Rock Star Mentors whom you can study from afar. Those blockbuster, million-dollar, best-seller authors. If I ever met Frank Peretti at a conference (and I did pass within a few a feet of him), I would be totally tongue-tied (which I was, so I didn’t stop and introduce myself).
What about those wonderful, excellent writers who steadily publish the fiction you love to read? Those who are five to ten years ahead of you in their writing careers, perhaps more. They may have even made the bestseller list a time or two. Yet they’re considered midlist authors. What about them? Can they become mentors? Possibly.
I had hesitated to call Rachel Hauck a midlist author. She’s an amazing writer and gaining a lot of success. Maybe she had made it to Rock Star level. When I looked up articles that named midlist authors, I found a post on Jane Yolen. She’s won dozens of awards and has published over four hundred books! Still, not considered a rock star.
Rachel is building her own backlist, but she doesn’t have four hundred novels under her belt yet. Anyway, she fits what I would love to have in a mentor. She’s approachable, she loves to teach and help other writers, and she continues to build her author platform.
So, how might you be able to connect with a favorite midlist author when seeking a mentor?
1. Follow them on social media and retweet, share, and comment on their content.
2. Subscribe to their newsletter and/or website. This allows for direct communication without dependence on social media filters, algorithms, etc. Leave comments on the blog or reply to the newsletter with encouraging words of your own. Show them you care. Everyone loves an “Attaboy(girl)!” And who knows? They might write back. A new connection created!
3. Follow them on Amazon. Again, make a point of encouraging them.
4. Attend a workshop or a writers’ meeting where your favorite midlist author is speaking. We just had Tina Radcliffe, another experienced mid-lister, as our speaker last Saturday. Some participants wrote to thank her, which has created a foundation for building a mentoring relationship. She responded with warmth and grace. In the future, those names will be familiar to her, and if she hears from them again, another building block will be added to the first.
5. Jessica Conoley suggests membership to Patreon and becoming a patron for a specific author. “It shows them you are long-term invested in their success, and therefore they are more likely to engage with you.” This was a new idea to me, and I checked into Patreon. In order to learn more, I had to create an account. I’m gun shy about handing over control of my social media to an organization, so my progress toward membership screeched to a halt. If you already are a member of Patreon, I’d love to hear your take on how helpful or entertaining you find the concept.
I don’t want you to be thinking this whole article is about schmoozing to get something you want—an “in” with an established author.
The above list comes with a caveat:
While you would appreciate guidance from your favorite midlist author, don’t expect it.
You admire their
writing. Now, keep reading their books and enjoy the opportunity to communicate with a person you admire. Every friendship begins with someone expressing interest in another.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.
A wife, mother of three, grandmother to seven, Linda regales the grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!
Where Linda can be found on the web:
Thank you to Jessica Conoley, author and writing coach, who inspired this post! https://jessicaconoley.com/