It’s true that the writing life is often a solitary one–long nights alone at your computer, anyone?–and perhaps for that very reason, it’s important to intentionally step out of your comfort zone and find your writing community.
Writing workshops (whether in person or online) are an especially great way to meet other authors. These are spaces where you can share your goals as a writer and improve your writing in a collaborative space.
Finding peers who understand your passion is also a great motivator! You can learn from each other and grow together personally as well as professionally.
Here are some key tips for getting started on your networking journey.
We all know that networking involves reaching out to others, but the other half of the battle is making yourself available for contact. Here are a few steps you can take to make your online pages more approachable:
- Include your professional email address and/or phone number on your website and social media accounts.
- Keep your social media handles consistent across all platforms so you’ll be easy to locate online.
- Make sure your social media pages are public and that your notifications are turned on so you’ll know when someone drops you a note!
- Design your website to be a conversation starter! Share unique information about yourself, or include a free sample of your writing to encourage feedback.
- Start an email newsletter. This will allow you to gather email addresses from fellow writers (and readers!). Be sure to send new subscribers a “thank you for joining” email, and see what relationships blossom.
Become a frequent attendee! Turn out for bookstore events, writing workshops and book clubs in your local area or online. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to find someone with common interests! Exchange business cards or contact information and set a date/time to meet up again.
Lend a Helping Hand
Offer your assistance! Set up tables and chairs for a book launch event, or work the ticket booth. Boost a fellow writer’s work on social media. Review their work on Goodreads/Amazon. Offer to be a beta reader. Be that supportive person they can count on when they’re feeling insecure or overwhelmed.
And when it’s your turn to ask for help, be specific about your needs and note any deadlines you may have. Others will be more willing to return the favor if they know exactly what they’re getting into!
What Goes Around Comes Around
Just like friendships, networking is a two-way street. If someone provides you with a blurb for your book or invites you to an event, be sure to return the favor!
And as you gain more experience in the industry, become a mentor to someone else. Introduce them to your contacts and show them the ropes. You may feel like you’re doing most of the heavy lifting at first, but you never know where your mentee will go–you may end up learning from them too!
The Host with the Most
As your circle grows larger, it’ll be easier for you to take initiative and host your own networking events. Depending on where your network is based, you can host events online or in person. Here are a few ideas to try out:
- Go live on Instagram or Facebook. You’ll see lots of familiar faces during your livestream, and you may make a few new friends too!
- Host a writing workshop, book club, or other event in your community
- Offer to host a friend’s book launch party on Zoom or in person
All in all, networking is a give and take. It’s about supporting other writers and learning from their successes (and mistakes!) just as much as it’s about getting assistance in promoting your work. The most important rule of thumb is to be genuine. Be true to yourself! If you put out positivity, you’ll be sure to get it back from your community.
Jackie Karneth is a publicist with Books Forward is an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.
Interested in what’s possible for your book sales and building readership? Check out our services, tell us your goals, and get a customized publicity campaign tailored just for you.