Good morning, everyone!
I’ve been thinking about doing a networking series for a while now, so I thought I’d start this month with Starting the Process.
One of the most underrated parts of writing is networking.
Some of those starting out think it’s easy or people will come to them, and other that have been writing for awhile look at it like a waste of time, or something better left until later or never and want to let someone else do it.
I’m the first to admit that networking is hard. It’s time consuming and many attempts can be fruitless endeavors. The frustration runs high before we find what works for us. In time, we learn what works and streamline our endeavors and grow our brand.
Sounds a bit like the publishing and editing, doesn’t it?
And that’s the point that often goes unrealized. Networking is as important, maybe even more so, than any other product. A saying I’ve often heard is, “Great books don’t make it on the bestsellers’ list, but great promotions do.” I have to agree, for the most part. I’ve read many books that were superior to those on various lists, and had they the resources those books probably would’ve been on those lists as well.
While there is room for debate on my previous point, one thing is certain: Few are the ones that publish a book and have it discovered without applying themselves in some way to promoting their work.
Not many of us can afford to pay for a lot of promotion, so what are the best ways to get our names out there?
First, we have to build our brand.
A brand is us. We want to package ourselves as authors, editors, formatters, and whatever else we want to offer our readers and fellow authors. To get started, we need to open accounts on social media.
Some of the best sites I’ve found are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and any blogging and/or website site like WordPress.com, webs.com, wix.com, etc.
Each site gives simple how to start instructions, so I won’t go into details on that here, but using them in-depth will be later blog posts, so stay tuned! 🙂
Once we open our accounts, we start the process of following/friending others and sharing our thoughts and projects. It’s really that simple to grow our brand. One thing I do want to add is that we should never spam our friends or followers. Think it as if we’re meeting one another face to face. Would we throw our books in someone’s face when we meet them?
Once we’ve started our brand, one of the best ways to get our name out involve anthologies. Publishers and sometimes well-known authors often promote openings in their anthologies. Whether it’s a publisher that’ll put a good amount of money behind the book or a top flight author’s name that’ll gain recognition, this is an awesome way to get our name out there. If there’s a big name author involved, whether traditionally published or small press/self, the book will often be a bestseller. If we’re accepted to be a part of the same book, we could have thousands read our stories we never would have reached. If readers like our contribution enough, they may seek out our other stories.
Another is writing a “how to” book. Seriously. Check out any how to book on Amazon and most of the time they’ll have a great ranking.
When I was in network marketing, a friend told me to write a survival or other how to book. He pointed out that nearly everyone wants one to help them learn and add to their abilities. Whether it’s a survival book, a cook book, how to edit, how to write, or how to wrap Christmas presents, there’s an audience out there. The biggest problem with this is there are many that are very simple and give the same basics many already know or could learn through Google. The principle behind it is simple: The author must know what they’re talking about.
If we take this route, we want to make sure our book is highly researched and we explore as many avenues as possible. Being thorough may seem boring, but if our books are informative and help others, our name will be shared and our brand will grow.
Some of the other ways to get exposure is by hosting others on our blogs and being hosted on theirs. There are plenty of bloggers that love reviewing and interviewing authors, we just have to be polite when approaching them. It’s important that we read their website to learn everything they require before asking them to review/host us. If we don’t we’re showing we have little to no regard or respect for their process. And, just as important, we should never spam them. If we don’t hear back in the time frame they offer, then politely send them a message. Otherwise, it’s best to wait.
By showing them respect and hosting or being hosted, we’re having our work and thoughts shared with others free of charge. Oftentimes, bloggers may agree to host us in exchange for hosting them or promoting their site. Simple, right?
While these seem like simple choices, they take time to take effect. It’s important to remember that any business, like a building, is built one brick at a time. The more energy we’re willing to put into our networking efforts, the better our returns will be. My Dad used to say, “Patience is a virtue,” and I’ve found that to be the one undeniable fact when it comes to building our brand.
That about does it for this post. Next month we’ll discuss some of the sites and how to best use them to our advantage.
Until next time, my friends, let your imaginations fly!