Impressive sounding jargon for something as simple as learning from and keeping in touch with your colleagues; the surprising thing that I have found is how generous people in the book world can be. Fellow marketers are eager to share their tips and information, authors go out of their way to keep in touch, publishers and publicists make sure you know how much you’re appreciated.
Networking like marketing is built on relationships and like in all relationships some reciprocity is involved. Also realize that you have more colleagues in this field than just your fellow writers. Anyone who touches your work can be considered a colleague; editors, marketers, reviewers, readers, bloggers.
So how do you touch their lives regularly?
Sharing your thoughts, ideas, tips or asking a question is a great way to network with colleagues and, like with marketing, there’s a variety of means! Try using both online and offline venues to reach the widest audience.
Social Media is, of course, the first thing that comes to mind. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube are considered to be the top four networking sites online. Don’t mistake these as the only options though. Target your networking the same way you’d target your readers or marketing venues.
What genre or sub genre do you work in most often? Look for forums, discussion boards or even associations that support the avenue your publishing follows; what are your interests, are you self published or are your books in e-book format?
Make your social media networking more effective and efficient by targeting you followers too. There are sites that promise to get you 1,000 new followers overnight BUT these won’t necessarily be quality followers. You’ll want to be able to weed out the *spammers and anyone else who couldn’t care less about what you do. Ask yourself ‘who would be most likely to retweet or recommend my posts to others’?
You’ll probably want to limit the number of fellow authors also – remember, you want to populate your group of followers with people who compliment what you do not counterparts.
To do this you’ll want to accept each of your followers individually. I know, this sounds very time consuming but the payoff will come in the number of contacts you make; http://www.SocialOomph.com can help you in this with their ‘vet followers’ feature. (You want to increase the number of contacts you can make not the number of followers you can accumulate.)
As a writer you’ll also want to form relationships and connect with readers. GoodReads is the largest reader networking community online making it an excellent place for an author to interact.
Join groups on Facebook to target audiences there. Find groups and individuals by typing search terms into the search bar at the top of the page. For example, you might type in “Book Bloggers” or “Book Blogger groups”; or try “book review groups” or “book reviewers”.
*Spammers: often those who couldn’t be bothered to complete their profile with a picture and bio.
Mail thank you notes or cards; everyone likes to be remembered and there’s a service that makes this easier than ever. Visit http://www.CardsforAuthors.com whether the relationship is online or offline oriented. You can select a card or note, inscribe your message and mail it off all from the comfort of your home. They will handle the addressing of the envelope and getting it to the post office with real postage!
Become part of a writer’s group or take a writing class. Before you know it you’ll be forming alliances with like-minded writers, critiquing each other’s work, learning from one-another and even trading cross editing tasks. Why not network with a writer’s group online and another offline?
Join or organize a literary event such as a poetry reading or author’s meet and greet.
Become a member of a writers’ association such as the Western Writers of America.