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Flame Tree Fiction

Advice for Aspiring Authors: Finding Your People

The Last Feather Shameez Patel Papathanasiou

Finding Your People

No, I don’t mean agents and editors. 

Long before The Last Feather was published, I was dreaming about what it would look like on shelves, on Bookstagram, as a movie. I was dreaming so far ahead, it was hard to find the motivation to do what needed to be done: Write. 

It’s easy to get lost in everything that comes after the manuscript is written, but I’d like to give you a few tips on how to stay grounded, stay motivated and how to finish the story that’s been playing in your head. 


That may seem like a simple thing to do, but if you’re anything like me, you’re so stuck in your story that finding your feet in another is seemingly impossible. Regardless of how talented you are, you need to read, especially within your genre. Here’s why:

  • It’ll indirectly strengthen your craft.


  • You’ll have a chance to see what’s selling and where you’ll fit on the shelves. 


  • It fills your creativity well. I’ll bet that while you’re reading, you’ll find yourself inspired by a book you love, or motivated to write something better than a book you didn’t enjoy. 


  • And finally, it’s a great way to meet and engage with like-minded people who will likely end up being your target audience. Which leads me to my next point:


Engage with readers

Being part of the reading community on various platforms has been a joy and an honor. Aside from the marketing advantages of having readers consider you a friend, there is something special about being able to scream about the things you love with someone who understands. 

The reading community is open to everyone with similar interests but they can be hard to find. My three favorite free platforms to engage with readers are:


  • Goodreads: Remember all those books I’m telling you to read? If you loved a book, review it! Let the author know that you adored their work. In the review section, you’ll be sure to find other reviewers who had the *exact* same thoughts as you and that moment is magic. 


  • Bookstagram: No, this isn’t a separate app, this is the bookish community of Instagram and you don’t need to take beautiful photos to be part of the community, although it does help. Post about the books you are reading, tell the world what you’re enjoying, chances are, there are others enjoying it too. Search and post using some variation of the hashtag #bookstagram or the book you’ve read (e.g. #thelastfeather 😉)


  • BookTok: As with Bookstagram, BookTok is the bookish community of TikTok and they’re an interesting bunch. While Bookstagrammers often have long and thoughtful reviews as captions with photos focused on the book they’ve read, the BookTokers tend to sway toward tropes (If you like enemies-to-lovers, found family and accessible fantasy, read this), reactions (posting a snippet and showing yourself screaming/crying/swooning) and skits (using a trending sound and linking it to a book you’ve read / character you’ve fallen for).


Engage with writers

Writing can often feel solitary: it’s you and the story in your head. 

But it doesn’t have to be. Being part of the writing community is a blessing. Not only are they there to encourage you to write, but they are also there to beta read and critique where necessary because no one else understands the vulnerability that goes into writing like other writers doing the exact same thing. 


Again, how do you find your people? 


  • Bookstagram and BookTok: Writers are often readers and in between their posts about the books they’re reading, you’re bound to find out about the books they’re writing and chances are, if you are enjoying the same books, you might enjoy reading each other’s books too. The hashtags are slightly different: #writertok #writersofinstagram etc. 


  • Twitter: While I find the reading community on Twitter to be slightly harder to navigate than Instagram and TikTok, the writing community is massive and interactive. Authors often post about the number of queries they sent before being offered a contract of representation/publication. It helps to know not everyone was an overnight success. 


  • Facebook: If you’re self-publishing, I insist that you join the 20Booksto50k group which is the most informative group on the internet! It goes through writing  support, finding editors, how to format and publish your novel as well as a number of marketing opportunities. The group has a search function which makes it easy to find what you’re looking for if you’re too shy to engage. 


  • And finally, my personal favorite, NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a non-profit organization that encourages authors to pen 50 000 words in the space of the month. It’s free to join and once you’ve entered your location, it will link you up with local writing communities which often lend itself to in-person writing events! And if that’s not your preferred setting, the forums can be explored to find other writers that suit you, be it based on genre, style, age, or race. 


Those are my three best tips on getting the writing done and enjoying it while building a support system that will stay with you through the writing, publication and marketing process. Good luck and get writing! I hope our paths cross as readers and writers. 

You can watch the fabulous Shameez talk through all this amazing advice over on YouTube here.

Fantasy fiction novel trilogy

Shameez’s debut novel The Last Feather is available to buy now from all good bookstores and online here.

Book two in The Selene trilogy, The Eternal Shadow, is out next April so keep your eyes peeled and check it out here.

Don’t forget to follow Shameez over on Twitter and Instagram. To keep up to date with our latest releases you can also follow us over Instagram and Twitter.

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