Networking Tips for Writers and Authors
As a writer you will no doubt have heard you need to network. People from various avenues will be telling you to get out there and spread the word about your writing. Now, some of you may well freak out at even the suggestion but I have some good news for you. It's not as difficult as you might think.
Networking is really just making friends. Forget about the business of networking and look at it as what it really is. Find people with common interests and make a connection.
Here's a few networking ideas to get you started:
Make a calendar of events (either in person, online, or both) and attend as many as you can.
Just by attending the event you'll already have a conversation starter for everyone else attending. You have your common ground. As you are all attending the same event you probably have other things in common too. For example, if you're attending an event about book marketing you probably are all interested in learning more about book marketing. This also indicates an interest in books in general. You just found lots of people to connect with.
Events like a book launch or signing can also be good for networking. Go along and show your support for another author. Don't talk about your own books during the event unless asked. It's their event. If possible grab a photo of the two of you together. Email them a few days later to let them know you enjoyed the event and send them a copy of the photo you took there.
If taking part in in-person events, don't forget to take along some business cards to make it easy for the people you meet to get in touch with you.
Connect on Twitter
Twitter, with it's 140 characters, is perfect for busy writers. Hashtags make it even easier to find people with similar interests. An easy way to make that first connection is to retweet content. Perfect for shy types who don't feel comfortable reaching out and starting a conversation from zero. By sharing their content you put yourself on their radar. They will see you have been supporting them and may very well take the first step in engaging in conversation themselves by thanking you. All you need to do then is reply and before you know it you're chatting away with a new friend.
What better way to make a great first impression than to help someone resolve a problem. This could be anything from offering advice to hosting them for a stop on their virtual book tour.
Comment on blogs
You probably read blog posts. Hey you're reading this one ;) Networking can be as simple as leaving a comment at the end of the post. You'll have a thought, or maybe several, based on what you read. Share it by posting a comment saying you agree/disagree and why. The blogger maybe even ask some questions at the end of the post for you to answer. Most comment forms allow you to post showing your name and even give a backlink to your website or chosen social media channel. Leave a good comment and the host, and others visiting, will click to find out more about you. You may even find the host invites you to guest post on the site esp. if you comment regularly.
Whatever method you use, forget about the hard sell. Just be yourself and concentrate on making friends. The more you put yourself out there, the more natural networking becomes. Also, don't stress yourself with trying to befriend everyone all at the same time (that won't work anyway). Instead focus on just a few people you'd like to network with at a time.
Where do you like to network most? Do you find it easier to network in-person or online?