Got Friends? Networking 101 for Authors

talk-show in studio

 

I recently wrote a guest post for Rachel Thompson’s blog Badredhead Media on blogging strategy. While the main focus of that post is on blogging strategy and planning, I also touch on a very important topic for the indie author: networking.

While working with new authors, a common theme that comes up is their fear of being rejected if they reach out to other authors, and I can understand that. But, that fear must be overcome. The benefits of networking far outweigh the negatives.

An author who has networked has many more opportunities open to them, such as:

• Joint marketing opportunities

• Blog guest post opportunities

• Best practice examples

• Finding answers about processes in indie publishing from people who have already done it

• Screening potential vendors

• Work in Progress sounding boards

• Support for low times in writing or getting those dastardly low reviews.

Bestselling author and founder of WANA International, Kristen Lamb, summed this up perfectly:

“If you look to ALL the great thinkers, writers and CEOs, unless they were a weird crazy genius, they had a network of excellent people. Think of the Founding Fathers and how they all connected and worked together to solve problems.”

Networking is never easy in the beginning. But it is a necessary component of being a successful indie author. Below you’ll find some basics to get you started.

Where to Find Authors to Network With:

• Facebook groups

• Goodreads groups

• Network of current author friends

• Twitter

• Professional groups, such as RWA and Alli

• Professional workshops/conventions, such as WANA International and home of the famous annual WANAcon

• Support forums, such as WANAtribe (free), Nanowrimo (free), Alli (paid) and RWA (paid)

As with everything, there are rules that MUST be followed in order to establish and maintain helpful and healthy relationships.

Basic Rules of Networking:

• Don’t throw sand in the sandbox and not expect to have it thrown back! (Thank you, Jane Amata.)

• Pay it forward is always a good thing.

• If you want nice, play nice! If you want a hand reached out to you, reach out a hand!

• There is no SPAM in TEAM. (Thank you, Kristen Lamb)

Networking is necessary for success in any industry, particularly in the world of the indie author. And I know it is a scary endeavor. I liken it to learning to ride a bike. When you first start out, you’re going to get bumps and bruises until you get the hang of it. But once you learn to ride, that knowledge stays with you and you can go longer distances more easily.

So don’t let the fear of what could happen stop you from getting started. Reach out. Make connections. Learn along the way. Just like riding a bike—you’ll get the hang of it. And before you know it you’ll be riding along, the wind streaming through your hair (or at least, under your helmet).

Comment here!

Comments

  1. Wonderful post, Naomi! Sound networking practices are critical in any business, and especially so in the ever-changing world of independent publishing. I think of Twitter as a vibrant cocktail party where I’m apt to bump into new readers, bloggers and writers every day. Facebook? My favorite place to chat in private groups with readers, or share intel with other authors. I’m not as active on LinkedIn, but have found a few reviewers there as well as potential vendors. And Goodreads wasn’t developed for easy networking, but I’ve met lovely bibliophiles on the site.

  2. Thanks, Christine! Plus, your networking helped you to set up your “fan group” and other ventures that you have gone into with other authors.

  3. Great post and a good reminder. I saw some statistics the other day that suggest doing guest posts on other blogger’s sites had some of the best reach for gaining visibility. There is a win/win if this is done right. As one person said, if someone turns you down, keep walking. There will be others who’ll take you up on your offer. He suggested the biggest problem was that usually never asked in the first place. I would try to get an agreement with the fellow blogger/blogee that there will be a post/reference on the two blogs involved. That way, new readers will go to the guest poster’s blog and vice versa. I just saw a guest post on an author’s blog, but for some reason, the one who did the guest post did not have a post on their own blog referencing this. Don’t know if it was an oversight or arrogance, but there needs to be reflective posts for exposure.

  4. Naomi Blackburn says:

    Excellent advice.

    I am reaching out an author right now to do a guest post on another idea which I thought was brilliant. For a day, she “took over” the Facebook page of an author who wrote in the same genre.

    I just wanted to give it an entire post to make sure all points were covered.

  5. Oh, that’s a great idea! Never thought about that. There’s an author who is releasing a new book, and for a week, she is having different people cover her Event on FB. She PM’d me the other night and actually invited me to cover. This let me know she had specifically thought about me (as opposed to having her friends volunteer–or maybe she’d asked everyone she thought would be appropriate or available.). It was a good feeling. So yes, covering your FB page for a day. What a neat thought. I’m also thinking about perusing About.me and see what I can find there. I’m shocked how people use this site. I just got introduced to it a week or so ago. You wouldn’t do a blog post, but you could find other others with whom to connect. You never know.

  6. Naomi Blackburn says:

    Exactly.

    It is about creativity. This author looked like she was having a blast while doing it and met potentially new readers. She was SO creative in the posts that she did, as well. Of course, she does have a pet raccoon that people can’t help but go ga-ga over, but she masterfully connected with these people.

  7. Absolutely! Networking on Goodreads was a first step in forming a fan group, and every promotion I’ve done with another author began with connections formed on GR, Facebook or Twitter.

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