The Importance of Community and Networking for Writers


The Importance of Community and Networking for Writers: My Journey with Author Alka Joshi

Writing is a solitary pursuit, with authors spending countless hours lost in their own worlds with their stories. However, the value of community and networking cannot be overstated for writers. Building connections with fellow industry professionals enhances our craft and provides support, inspiration, and valuable opportunities. 

As an aspiring writer, I found great admiration for Alka Joshi‘s work. Her debut novel, “The Henna Artist,” captivated me with its rich storytelling and vivid portrayal of Indian culture. I wrote about her book for Ms. Magazine and sent her my article.

From her social media, I found out about her class at Kepler’s called Beyond the Manuscript about agents, publishers and working with developmental editors. She shared personal anecdotes as well as struggles and triumphs as a writer. She and her agent talked about the book process and of course re-writing!

When each of her next books came out, I wrote about those and interviewed Alka again! I loved The Secret Keeper of Jaipur and The Perfumist of Paris perhaps even more than the original book in the Jaipur trilogy!

Watch us on my award nominated podcast, Make Your Own Map

Through connections made during workshops and events, I had the chance to attend writing conferences and participate in critique groups. The support and advice I received helped me find my book agent.

After I interviewed Christie Tate, NYTimes bestselling author of GROUP and BFF, for my podcast, she encouraged me to ask Alka if she might be willing to read my book, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty

Not only did she read my book, but she also wrote this amazing blurb for me:

“Niver’s global travel exploits had me simultaneously chewing my fingernails and cheering her on as she challenged herself to greater and riskier feats in search of self. Compelling and engrossing. A must-read for fans of Wild and Eat, Pray, Love!”

My journey with the extraordinary author Alka Joshi has proven that it’s not just about crafting beautiful stories alone; it’s about immersing yourself in a world where passionate creators unite, elevate each other, and push the boundaries of imagination.

Thank you to Happiness Between Tails by da-AL for inspiring and first publishing this article.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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