Connecting With Other Authors For Mutual Growth (Networking)
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, today’s hot topic is Author Networking Made Simple, so bear with me as we touch base on the following:
- How supporting others in the writing industry can have a direct and positive impact on your own work
- Where to start if you want to connect with other authors
- What things authors can do to support and promote each other
- How to approach other authors and become literary buddies
Especially in the self-publishing industry, authors need to make some noise for themselves in order to get noticed. That’s when the #writingcommunity steps up and comes to the rescue. If one voice goes unnoticed, who dareth silence a choir?
The industry is ever-evolving and today’s consumers (yes, your readers) are changing the way brands (that would be you) handle themselves on the market. Times are a changin’ and there’s no turning back as the selfless fan phenomenon is morphing into an entirely different creature.
For the ones of you who are new to my blog, I’m Esther, writer, content creator for authors and massive nerd. If you’re interested to know all the tips & tricks surrounding the process From Writing To Publishing Your Novel, you’re only a click away. For more goodies, articles and giveaways, please consider subscribing to my Newsletter.
Today’s article is dedicated to author networking for mutual growth, for all those authors who are looking to connect with other writers and professionals in the writing industry in order to share experiences, learn from each other, grow their social media and boost their online exposure. If reaching out and engaging with other writers like you is just not your style (perfectly respectable), then fell free to skip this article altogether.
What does this actually mean?
Well, it’s a give and receive world out there. Everywhere. It’s not enough for musicians to simply release a song for the masses to go into blind worship. Fans want to engage. Other authors want to engage and grow their literary circle too. It’s not enough for writers to simply publish a book and post regularly on social media.
Engaging with likeminded people will be a constructive experience whether you’re a writer, booktuber, bookreviewer or bookstagrammer. They’re the ones who can teach you through their experiences and sharing is caring (I refuse to let this one get old).
Your literary buddies will retweet your inner dramas, drop a comment on your Instagram cat pics and share your next release with their followers, giving you mass exposure. They can also review your books, recommend a good editor and even beta read your novel if/when they have the time.
Life’s too short to be selfish, so share your slice of pie with the world and especially as a new author, expect to give more than you’ll receive at the beginning of your journey. That’s what networking is all about.
Nothing came to bite me in the arse when I helped out a fellow author, but all the opposite. My book ended up being included in an exclusive swag bag for several award shows (I still feel like a complete idiot when I say this, somebody pinch me!)
So don’t wait to be noticed and start engaging. Send emails, include others in your projects, ask for help with your blurb, ask their opinion about your latest book cover but always on a mutually beneficial front. Although it may sound like a full time job, a few hours worth of proper networking a week can and will go a long way.
Since we’re all in this together, we might as well support each other. There are enough trolls out there and we certainly don’t need more weapons to hurt each other, so let’s roll our sleeves and use the internet wisely.
Here’s how NOT to approach anyone on the internet. Ever.
You can almost feel the fire coming off that pitchfork as Random Person (you’ve never met or had any contact with) comes with that reply to one of your tweets. Don’t do this. It looks desperate, ambushy and spikes the creepometer. Honestly.
If you’re looking for a special service, there’s a plethora of Goodreads groups with special sections on BLURB HELP, MUTUAL HELP, BETA READING, where authors help other authors.
But when you choose to email or DM someone you don’t know via their author website, make it count or your message is likely to be treated like spam.
FOLLOW UNFOLLOW FOLLOW UNFOLLOW
Can I just say how last century this feels? Can you all just grow up and become aware we now have apps to identify this dirty behavior? This is not how you grow your audience. This is just being nasty. Period.
This goes exclusively for me, but I welcome manners in any approach, be it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or my author website. “Read my book!”, “Review my novel!” and “Write my blurb!” are not going to work. Greet the person you’re writing to, include a few details about yourself, extend a hand so you can both benefit from a collaboration.
Yes, but what happens if all you do is give and your efforts are not returned?
First off, expect it to happen A LOT but don’t let that overshadow what Gandhi said “you must be the change you wish to see in the word”. If you’ve relentlessly starred other books, reached out to exhaustion and supported everyone on their journeys, you’re the living example of how it should be done.
It’s highly unlikely not to make a few friends who are willing to return the good Karma. Those are your keepers. The rest will filter themselves out and there’s absolutely no need to include them on your future projects.
PS: I still retweet people who have never bothered to return the love and it’s fine. Doing things exclusively for the sake of receiving is fundamentally wrong.
Where can you meet your perfect crew?
Goodreads is the place where I met the coolest people. I joined the groups that I found relevant to my genre and literary needs and started engaging. I didn’t quite get the same Karma on Twitter, but I’ll keep trying. Instagram is pretty cool too.
It’s not an exact science but hey, the very last part of this article includes confessions from several people very dear to my heart. They were kind enough to share some valuable insight so that you, the author reading this, can learn from their experiences and maybe avoid a few mistakes.
Let’s welcome our writers: Catherine McCarthy, Carole P. Roman, Ben Jackson, Karen Eisenbrey, Rebeca Hefner, Ian Miller, Barbara Ann Mojica, Kiera Lynn Hart, Tabatha Shipley, Bobby Nash, L.A. Myles, Alex Carver, Erica Graham. Book cover designer Ana Voicu was also kind enough to join in. She’s followed by avid reader Antonela and book blogger Esther D.
What are some ways authors and writing industry professionals can support each other?
Barbara Ann Mojica: The same principle we apply to our audience applies to authors. The question should be, “What can I give?” not “What can I get.” Cross promoting our work helps us develop ongoing relationships and strong support networks. By learning from each other, we can develop a solid knowledge base from which all can benefit. We cross-promote by stressing what we admire or appreciate about their work.
Give them specific details. If we are sincere and genuine in our efforts to support authors, we will develop a sense of trust. We can build up a network and position ourselves as an honest, sincere author. Our reputation and writing will command authority and respect. Then we will encourage interaction and make others curious to know more about our work. We need to share experiences about successes and failures. Share resources and information rather than keep them to yourself.
Authors face so many obstacles. We deal with shenanigans from Amazon. Publishing difficulties confront most of us. The scammers try to make money from our mistakes. We face pressure to keep up with new technology appearing each day. Sharing and caring is the best way to keep each other strong and safe from the pitfalls in the industry.
Alex Carver: authors can help one another in the simplest of ways, by liking, retweeting, sharing on FB, or reblogging what an author posts. Doing so expands an author’s reach, with the potential benefit of also expanding your own reach at the same time by providing content that isn’t all about yourself, which can put off some followers.
They can also provide space on their blog, if they have one, for interviews, cover reveals, new release announcements, anything. This is something I do. I always have space on my blog when an author is looking to make an announcement of some kind.
Taking part in author events, like Facebook takeovers, or release parties, can make a big difference as well, as can group promotions where several authors get together and work to promote all their books as one.
Catherine McCarthy: We can support each other in many ways such as by doing some beta reading, not necessarily a whole novel, but even giving honest feedback on a few pages can be helpful. Myself and other writers have also bought, read and reviewed each other’s work and have shared information such as forthcoming events and competitions etc.
Erica Graham: There is a wide range of ways for authors to support each other. Helping other authors can be as simple as reacting to and sharing social media posts or as complex as organizing group promotional events. Something simple I enjoy doing is author features on my social media and giving shout-outs to authors who have new book releases.
Authors can also serve as a sounding board for other authors with works in progress. We all have times when a book needs an outsider opinion. What sounds good in our heads may not come across the way we intend for others. I can think of multiple times I reached out to other authors to hash out some ideas, and the feedback I received was incredibly valuable, making my final work even stronger.
Ana Voicu: I believe taking the time to get to know and support fellow authors and industry pros has one major advantage – the sharing of experiences, successes and failures alike brings people closer together and helps them grow. This translates to more sophisticated end products, be it book cover designs or a more refined way of writing. Encouraging and promoting the work of fellow authors and industry pros – either online via social media or in the real world – benefits the entire publishing industry.
Ben Jackson: Promotion, marketing, and networking between authors is a massive help when you’re trying to get started in self-publishing. Building connections with authors, and having the ability to reach out and ask a question or ask for help is priceless. I still reach out to Carole. P. Roman, when I have a question about publishing or writing that I want author input on.
Carole P. Roman: Networking, sharing on social media. Buying and reading as many books and reviewing honestly. I never tell an author that I will purchase their book- but I do and then if I like it, I will write a review on both Amazon and Goodreads. I also share my resources. I will feature other authors on my blogs, and Facebook, include them in my mailing lists, often offering a freebee in the giveaway of their book in kindle form. I do this because you can’t just keep writing about your books, it gets old. I retweet their posts as much as I can. Gathering and contributing your experience on a good authors thread on Goodreads helps. If I have success with a certain strategy, I share it in a discussion group.
Karen Eisenbrey: Indie authors (small press and self-pub) need all the support they can get, and no one understands that better than other authors. It’s not that hard to write a review, but it means the world to an author without a big publicity machine behind her. Post it on your own blog, Goodreads, the big A…and be sure to share it with readers who would be interested, such as in Facebook groups. Join online author groups to ask questions and share advice and resources.
If another author is having an event near you (a launch party, a reading), try to go, and ask a good question during Q&A. If you can’t go yourself, share about the event on social media or in person. Consider including other local authors in your own events. If an author in your circle is having an online event, participate as much as you are able, perhaps even as a co-host if it fits yours schedule. If you’re having an online event, invite other authors to host a slot and let them promote their own work as well as yours.
Recommend books by authors you know and give them as gifts. Share submission opportunities, especially with newer authors who might not be as connected. Suggest going to a workshop or conference together, especially if your fellow author (or you!) would benefit from the event but might be intimidated going alone where they won’t know anyone. Offer to beta read for an author in your genre who is just starting out, and ask authors you admire to beta read for you. We can learn so much from each other!
Ian Miller: First, expect industry professionals to be making their living from their activities. Treat them with respect, be friendly, and be very clear what you want from them. If they give you a contract or any legal document, read it carefully. If you don’t like it, by all means try to negotiate, but if that does not work, accept their position and move on.
They are operating a business, so support them by being business-like. Remember, once they get to know you better, they will go out of their way for someone who is trouble-free and respects their position. Also, be honest. As for other writers, be friendly, but be honest. There is no point in praising their efforts if it is really awful. Praise the good bits and try to point out the bad bits. If they don’t appreciate that, then back down. You can also help them by showing them how to do something, where to find contacts, etc.
Bobby Nash: Authors supporting one another can be easy and cost nothing. If a writer you enjoy releases a new book, share that post on social media. I’m always asked in interviews what authors I read. That is a great place to mention your favorites. Plus, leaving reviews is always helpful. Authors should leave reviews of books they enjoy as well as anyone else. These are the easiest ways to support one another. Other ways that take a little more work are inviting other authors to do guest posts on your blog or website, letting them know of conventions or conferences where they might be a good fit and, maybe teaming up to help keep travel expenses low.
Rebecca Hefner: I really enjoy reading and reviewing other indie authors’ books. It’s a great way to find a new read and to support them by increasing their number of reviews. Usually, the author will read one of my books in return. Although a review in return is not mandatory for me to review their book, it’s always appreciated and helps each author grow their platform.
Where can I find others to collaborate with?
Barbara Ann Mojica: Start by looking on Amazon for similar books to your own. Find them in the similar buyer’s suggestions. Google podcasts by the genre of your book. Google interviews and find out who interviews in your genre. Search blogs, put in your genre, and write to these bloggers. Follow bloggers with similar interests. Then read their blogs and comment on their posts.
Do a search of groups on Facebook or Linked in that relate to your genre and books. Join a writer’s association for your genre. Check out who reviews books in that genre on Amazon. Look them up and write to them to start up a relationship. Find writers on Twitter or Instagram with similar hashtags. Update your email list and add authors with similar interests. Strike up a conversation with them to start a relationship.
Alex Carver: Goodreads is one of the best places to start. Since it is a site dedicated to readers and writers, it’s a natural place to go looking for people to network with. Be careful when joining groups, though, and make sure to read the rules. Every group has their own set of rules, and what is allowed in one group, such as promoting your book, may get you kicked out of another.
Outside of Goodreads, social media is a good place to find people looking to network or help out fellow authors. Facebook has groups you can join, you just have to search them out, Twitter has a writing community that can be found with the right hashtags.
Instagram is apparently good for networking and low-level promotion as well, but I haven’t got to grips with it yet, so I’m not in a position to provide first-hand experience there.
Erica Graham: Social media is a great place to find groups of authors with interests similar to your own. Also, take advantage of local author groups and author conventions where you can meet other authors in person and make connections. The most important rule to follow, especially for new authors, is not to spam author groups with posts about your book; network by engaging in conversations, offering feedback, taking part in group events, and being encouraging.
Catherine McCarthy: The best places to find others to collaborate with are all the usual social media platforms. Personally, I have found twitter to be the best. This last year I have also attended a few local book fairs and made friends with some great authors in doing so. They have been so encouraging and supportive. You may not make a huge amount of sales at these events, but you definitely make gains in like-minded colleagues and it’s a great way to meet the public and getting your face and name known.
Ana Voicu: Social media is the first go-to place. Being active on Instagram and Facebook is a must for anyone who wants to make their product or services known. As far as book cover design services are concerned, depending on your needs, there are a few very good websites where an author can discover potential designers. Aside from the usual Google search, DeviantArt , Behance and Illustrationweb.com are three of the best online resources where authors can find talented artists for hire.
Ben Jackson: Social media is a great place to start but can also suck you down the rabbit hole of making connections with people that don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart. Goodreads and publishing associations are fantastic as well.
Esther D: Keep your eyes open on Twitter, that’s where I’ve found my most collaborations. Also joining a club or group would be a nice place to find collaborations. I’m a member of a bookclub and it gives me joy and a place to network all together!
Antonela: I am a huge advocate of GoodReads. It is a great place to find new and lesser-known authors. Also, that is a great place for all the readers and booklovers. I love Twitter too. So, my answer would be that the best place is social media.
Bobby Nash: Creative people are everywhere. Look on social media. There are hundreds of groups for writers. Find an author whose work you connect with and reach out. You might be surprised to find a kindred spirit. Also, most towns have local writers groups where you can meet other local creators to team up with and support.
Rebecca Hefner: Social media is where I’ve had my best result. Both Twitter and FB have been great for this. You can search FB for key words such as “indie author group”, “romance writers group” (or your specific genre), “PNR cross promotion group”, etc. You’ll find many groups with authors looking to collaborate. On Twitter, I usually follow writers in the #writingcommunity. I check out their book and, if it looks like something I’d like, I’ll read it and tweet my Goodreads review and tag them in the post. It’s a great way to encourage support and get the word out about talented indie authors.
Tabatha Shipley: Twitter had been a great place to connect with other writers. I play a few hashtag games and have met lots of great writers there. You can also search YouTube for AuthorTube or BookTube videos. I also regularly search for Writing blogs through WordPress and start following new sites.
How does supporting others have a direct and positive impact on my own work?
Barbara Ann Mojica: Like many authors, I sometimes worry too much about people-pleasing. There will always be haters and jealous people. The best way to improve your work is to get quality feedback from fellow authors. I spend a lot of time reading and reviewing family-friendly books on my blog. In the beginning I did this to find out more about the market and to learn more about writing.
It has done much to help me focus better on my own goals. This has become more of a sharing experience. Some of the books I review need a lot of work. I try to help and encourage new writers by giving them constructive advice and feedback. Rather than leave a negative review, I offer tips to improve. Many of these authors have written and thanked me. I’ve done videos on you tube sharing suggestions. I improve myself by reading the blogs of fellow authors. Often, I scour the internet for training opportunities. Reading and marketing books written by authors remain on my reading list.
Alex Carver: Supporting others can lead to an improvement in writing ability, promotional techniques, and also expand your knowledge base, both in terms of publishing and book content. The chances are good that at some point you are going to want to write about something you either don’t have direct knowledge or experience of or which your knowledge and experience is outdated.
The more you connect with and support others, the greater your chances of connecting with someone who will be able, and willing, to fill in blanks in what you know, even if that only happens to be with regards to relatively simple things like what a particular place is like so you can make the setting of a book more authentic.
Catherine McCarthy: Through mutual support, myself and other authors have been able to discuss what works and what doesn’t work regarding marketing. Also, as far as the actual writing goes, reading the work of authors within my genre has given me the confidence to realize my own capabilities – it’s easy to doubt yourself, but having the validation of others in the same position as yourself helps.
Ana Voicu: By encouraging others in their own journey you build lasting relationships and thus, earn the opportunity to receive valuable feedback of your own work from people that actually care about you. As long as your intentions are genuine and authentic, your work, as well as the work of those around you, will constantly improve.
Ben Jackson: I have a core group of authors that I often collaborate with. It’s has provided me with opportunities to promote my own work. It has also given me tips, information, and guidance that has helped me when I publish and write my own books.
Carole P. Roman: Very few people have access to a lot of readers. it’s expensive to keep using the paid sites available. When you pool yoru resources, you are exposed to new people and you are doing that for the person you are sharing yours with. This does double duty of keeping your posts interesting and fresh, as well.
Esther D: I don’t get feedback that much, and support from others, maybe just a like, retweet or a comment really makes me keep going. Sometimes I feel tired or I just want to sit down with a book, but the positive comments keep me going and I want to post stuff for my followers.
Karen Eisenbrey: Being generous with your support will repay you in many ways: with readers who will write informed reviews and recommend your books to friends and family; with increased connection in the industry; with passionate beta readers who know your genre; with friends who “get you.”
Ian Miller: For me, the biggest support coming back has been from writing groups, real and virtual. By virtual, I mean through contacts on the web that we see from places like Goodreads, Facebook groups, etc. First, if you offer your experiences, others come back with theirs. Second, others tell you where to find lists of things you might need, or how to do something. Thus if you want to compile your own ebook, you need to find out where to get compilers, and how to use whatever you get. If you have to work it out yourself, as I did, it is time-consuming.
Bobby Nash: First and foremost, supporting other creators is a nice, decent thing to do. It also breaks up your posts trying to sell your own books, which gets people paying attention to your posts more than simply posting nothing but “buy my book” links. Supporting others helps build community, which is important. Those you support, may support you in return. They may not. It’s still a way to spotlight a book or creator whose work you enjoy.
Rebecca Hefner: I find the #writingcommunity so supportive on Twitter. I’ve certainly gotten sales from another author recommending my book there. Also, it helps you remain positive, especially on those days when you’re staring at your manuscript thinking, “Is this terrible??”. On those days, it’s always nice to see a tweet come across from another author who is praising or recommending your work. Being an author can be lonely at times, and a positive boost is always appreciated!
If I am a new author, where do I start?
Barbara Ann Mojica: Most authors don’t see the long road ahead. They feel excited about their book and can’t wait to put it out there. But they don’t plan. First, study the competition. Read reviews from the same genre. Research a good title and book cover. Take the time to write a compelling book description. Use Kindlepreneur to find keywords, categories, etc. If there is no demand for a book, it won’t sell.
Writers fail when they don’t research their target market. Set up an email list to learn what your readers need and want. Beginning authors often think a passionate belief is the rule for success. One must learn what value or emotional need you can supply to your readers. It’s about them, not you. Many beginning authors fail to develop a platform on social media before publishing. They learn necessary skills after they publish, putting the cart before the horse. I tell new authors to remember the three P’s: patience, persistence and perseverance.
Catherine McCarthy: Not in the same way I did! Don’t wait until your book is ready for publication before you begin your marketing strategies. I would actually advise a new author to set up a few social media accounts and begin ‘teasing’ their book and lifestyle at least six months ahead of any planned launch. Readers want to know you as a person, not just a product these days.
Additionally, make sure your product is prepared to a high standard – well edited, beta-readers, cover etc. before making it public. A shoddy piece of work will do nothing but gain you a bad name. Once readers are put off, you won’t gain them back. This is where I was very fortunate as my husband is an illustrator/animator and as such was able to create my book covers and trailers for me at no cost. Think about your own shopping experience and ask yourself the question, ‘Would I buy this product?’ If the answer is no, then it’s not ready.
I would also recommend joining ALLi (Alliance of independent authors) as they are a mine of information and are very supportive. For example, I had one small publisher offer me an immediate contract without even seeing the full manuscript. This sounded an alarm bell so I contacted them for advice. They researched the company and came back to me the very same day.
Ben Jackson: Don’t ever forget to put your best foot forward. A lot of people believe that to be self-published, they have to do everything themselves and not invest any money in their work. If you’re planning on making this a serious career, then spend some money and invest in your work. Even if you only publish one book, make sure that it’s been edited, proofread, formatted and illustrated or designed by professionals
Carole P. Roman: Goodreads, Bookwroks, Publisher’s Weekly- Read and meet as many authors as you can. Open dialogs, ask questions.
L.A. Myles: The first thing I would do is go to Twitter and get to know the #WritingCommunity there. Joining Twitter has hands-down been the best social media decision I’ve made to date. The second place I’ve had the most positive interactions is Wattpad. I know that’s a bit more complicated because if you post work on there, many industry professionals consider the work published. But I’ve had great interactions with people there. The forums with the Industry Insiders have been especially helpful. Plus, there is a lot of opportunity for constructive criticism to help you improve your writing if you do post your work on there.
Antonela: I believe the best way is to make your own support group of other authors. Some of them will give you the best advice. Also, use social media as a connection between you and the reader. Try to go to some of GoodReads groups to give away your book. Word of the moth is still the best PR in the community. The book tube is a popular thing right now. Find some of them that read your genre and send them your work. Good luck!
Karen Eisenbrey: Join your local writers’ association, if there is one, or the local chapter of a national organization, such as Romance Writers of America. Take a class that fits where you are in your writing life: maybe on craft, or submissions, or marketing.
Facebook has tons of author groups, some for discussion and sharing, some for motivation and accountability, some for promotion, some genre-centric, others more general. On Twitter, start following people who post with #writercommunity, #writingcommunity, #author, #amwriting. Following enough of these people also insulates you from a lot of the uglier sides of Twitter.
Ian Miller: Get computer, then write. Your first efforts will probably be awful. Mine were. These first efforts should be destined for the trash. Once you get a bit better, try to get someone who will be sympathetic, but not hopelessly supportive, to read it. You need honesty here, not a series of platitudes to make you feel better. Keep at it. Eventually, when you think you are in control, join a writing group and see what others think. Also, decide why you want to write, which should lead you to what to write. If the answer to “why” is to make a lot of money, find some other way. Some make a lot of money, but by far the most do not. Then when you know why you are doing it, make sure you honour that reason.
Bobby Nash: Start with social media. Look for writers groups. Visit local author groups. See if you connect with anyone and see what happens. Be warned, not every author is going to jum at the chance to cross promote. There are those who aren’t interested. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it happens.
Rebecca Hefner: Create a Twitter profile for your author name/pen name. Compose a tweet introducing yourself to the #writingcommunity. You will increase your followers immediately. Interact with others and get to know them. The majority of your twitter feed should be interactions. It’s okay to promote your book, but you will make more organic connections when you genuinely interact with others. From there, you’ll be able to form relationships where other authors will want to help you.
How do you collaborate with other authors for mutual growth?
Barbara Ann Mojica: I read and review the books of children’s book authors. Then I offer advice and support on my blog and on my Amazon Reviews. We share knowledge in interviews on fellow author’s blogs. I offer suggestions on you tube from my TV interviews on The Writer’s Dream.
Podcasts like Brains Behind the Books with Dave Farrow offer another quick avenue. An interview with Christine Calabrese offers suggestions for teachers who want to write. The second one discusses how to set up successful book signings and book festivals. I share tips on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Reddit, Pocket, Tumblr and Instagram.
Alex Carver: There are many ways you can collaborate with other authors. It can be as simple as giving an opinion on a proposed book title or cover, or it can be beta-reading. I have done all of those for other authors, I have also provided space on my blog for book features, new release announcements, promotions, author interviews, etc.
Additionally, I have taken part in group promotions where a collection of authors work to promote all books in the promotion equally. Group promotions can help to grow an audience beyond what you are able to manage individually, and also to introduce you to different marketing techniques since people involved in the group promotion are likely to have different ways and means of promotion that they have found useful.
Erica Graham: I try to find ways that we can promote together; whether it means featuring each other on our blogs, or doing a larger group promotion. By including more authors in a promotion, we are exposing our books to those author’s audiences. Each author may have a small reach, but together, that reach grows exponentially.
Ana Voicu: Offering honest and straightforward feedback is the first thing that helps in building a trustworthy collaboration. I like being able to offer my feedback for free to any author that needs a second opinion on their cover design. I also like to receive criticism for my own work – it’s the only way to develop my skills and get better at what I do. That in turn means being able to offer better services. It’s a win-win situation for both me and those I collaborate with.
Ben Jackson: Author promotions, new releases, author interviews, and social media promotions are all ways that you can collaborate with other authors. You’ll gain access to hundreds of different opportunities that you would have otherwise of missed out on.
Karen Eisenbrey: I’m published by a small press. The authors have become a kind of family, promoting each other’s work, offering a last round of proofreading when we advance read for each other, blurbing and reviewing, doing events together, even putting each other up during conferences. Our publisher regularly shares vendor booths with another small press in the same local area, and authors from both help staff the booth together. My publisher and some of the authors have done panels at conventions to share with other authors and small presses what we’re trying and what has worked.
Kiera Lynn Hart: I give back what I receive.
Ian Miller: My problem is I do not live close to other writers, so while I have supported a local writers’ group while it was going, now it has collapsed I am more or less on my own. One thing I do do is review other writers on Amazon. Rviews are difficult to get, and I like t think this helps some of them.
Bobby Nash: By doing all the things I mentioned above. I share my friend’s book release information. or celebrate their award nominations and/or wins. I comment on their covers and share information when I can. I also leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, primarily and post that I enjoyed their book on social media. It’s a minor thing, be we all love hearing that someone liked our book. You can truly make an author’s day with those four little words: “I loved your book.” As professionals, I have swapped book blurbs with other authors from time to time, read a book pre-release to have a review ready when the book is available, invited authors on the podcast I used to co-host (I don’t have a podcast at the moment), and share information on promotional venues that might be a good fit for other authors.
Tabatha Shipley: I am part of a writing group that helps keep me on track with my goals and lets me bounce ideas off of them. I also play a lot of writing games on Twitter, which help me dig deeper into characters and situations that I wouldn’t always have thought of. I also review books for indie authors over on my YouTube channel and I’ve met a lot of authors that way!
How much time do you dedicate to networking?
Barbara Ann Mojica: I would say I spend 40 to 50 % of my time on networking. That includes email, social media platforms, preparing for interviews, direct marketing, and researching. I used to hate the marketing aspect of publishing. As I developed a support team of authors and friends, I no longer feel alone and helpless. Fellow authors have similar goals. Together we can encourage, support and aid each other to succeed.
Alex Carver: I’m not sure I can say how much time I dedicate to networking because a lot of it, the best kind in my opinion, doesn’t involve sitting there and consciously thinking about connecting with people for the purposes of building a network. To me the best kind of networking comes when you connect with the person instead of the author, the person instead of the editor/proofreader/cover designer.
People are more than just the jobs they do, and if they feel you care about them, rather than just their job, then they are likely to put that little more effort into helping you. The reverse is also true, if I feel that someone has an interest in me as a person, rather than just me as an author or blogger, then I am likely to do a little more for them — there are some people I have connected with who have gone out of their way to check up on me when they haven’t heard from me in a while, and I appreciate that, and I do go the extra mile for them to show that appreciation.
As an example: I have difficulties with my mental health, and there are days when even the simplest of things is a trial for me. On those days, I may like/retweet something I see for an author who has a new release or a promotion, but if I have connected with them as a person I might well try and pull myself together enough to do more and perhaps put up a post on my blog about the release/promotion, or reach out to offer my hopes for a good whatever it is and to ask if there is something I can do to help.
It might cost me some valuable stores of energy, and require me to rest afterwards, but if I have connected with the author on a more personal level than simply author to author then I am willing to do that because I am more invested in wanting them to succeed.
Erica Graham: More than I should, but to be completely honest, it is because I enjoy it so much. When I first began networking, it was hard for me to see other authors without a lingering feeling of them being competition. Overtime, I learned that was certainly not the case. I have made so many friends in the author community.
Catherine McCarthy: Networking has taken up rather too much time of mine lately but this is because I was already lagging behind due to being so naïve about what would be required of me in order to establish a presence. As I said in question 4, with my first book I just imagined that once it was written and published it would sell itself! How wrong I was! Once I become a bit more established, I intend to dedicate a specific amount of time to networking and stick to it as it eats into writing time.
Ben Jackson: I’m in a constant battle between managing my time. I’m a freelance writer, self-published author, work full-time and also studying for a diploma in Social Media and Marketing. I try to break my nights up into 1-hour chunks. I usually spend an hour every night on marketing, social media, and networking, then an hour on freelancing, and an hour on my diploma or my own writing.
Esther D: I try to spend time on my blog every other day, I don’t like posting every day, it can be overwhelming. I do try to answer my email when I’m above 20 new emails and I usually spend time reading other peoples blogs and commenting on that as well.
Antonela: Not much but then again my networking is nothing more than for my personal TBR, and my love of finding new books or ARC’s, not for promotion of my book or Youtube channel. Btw, I don’t have either one. I guess that the time dedicated to networking is at least couple of hours daily.
Carole P. Roman: I am checking and working on marketing and promotion most of the day while I am at work. (Safe for me- I am the boss). I write creatively only at night, now. Marketing and promotion from both my and my son’s books have sucked up most of my day.
Karen Eisenbrey: Not that much in real life (but I just got back from Rose City Comic Con, where I tried to connect with folks who came by the booth, both writers and readers), but I’m connected to other indies every day online, where we share encouragement and opportunities, as well as release announcements and events. I notice I have a low tolerance for promotional posts. I enjoy discussions and writing prompts, and will give more time to the authors who start those threads and are active beyond just self-promotion.
Ian Miller: On the web, probably too much, although much of this is related more to marketing. I don’t separate out the time; if I did I would probably be horrified.
Kiera Lynn Hart: Honestly, I haven’t done much of my own yet, but that’s changing. I didn’t realize until recently how profound an impact networking can have.
Bobby Nash: I probably spend more time marketing than I should. There’s more to marketing that sharing posts and press releases. I also do blogs, write articles, guest on podcasts, radio, and TV, do interviews, attend conventions, conferences, and library shows, and visit stores. Getting the word out takes a lot of effort.
Rebecca Hefner: I dedicate two hours each morning to what I refer to as the “technical part” of my author profession. This includes networking with other authors, contacting reviewers for reviews, cultivating my social media, etc. Twitter is where I have the most author interaction, so I’ll usually look through my feed and decide which author’s book I want to read/review for the week. I try to read/review one new-to-me indie author’s book per week, although it does vary based on my schedule. I’m a voracious reader so that part is actually fun!
Are you in the Writing Industry?
Shoot me an email, I’d love to interview you and promote your work. For free. Because we’re all in this together.