Undoubtedly, you already know how important networking is to success in any business. Being an author is no different, and for self-published authors, networking is something you cannot neglect. Here, we’ll cover some of the benefits of networking and the best places, virtually or in person, to accomplish this.
The benefits specific to authors include:
- Mastering the business side of writing and publishing
- Obtaining a mentor
- Getting beta readers
- Marketing your author brand and your books
- Finding possible collaborators
- Connecting with agents, editors, and publishers
- Discovering new opportunities, markets, and the latest trends
Now let’s look at where to go to achieve these awesome networking benefits.
Where to Network
While all of these are useful, you can optimize your networking based on your goals. If you want to link up with fellow writers, try joining a writing group, a book club, or going on a writing retreat. If you want to associate with editors and publishers, you could attend writer’s conferences, workshops, and book launches. In general, check out these events:
- Literary festivals
- Book fairs
- Book signings and readings
- Writing classes or workshops
- Local library events
Online options include:
- Online classes
- Virtual writing groups
- Join writing-related social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others
- Be active on Reddit in subreddits such as r/selfpublishing, r/selfpublish, r/writing, and any genre-specific ones that apply to you
- Create a Goodreads account; leave reviews and make recommendations
- Other dedicated writing communities such as Freelance Writer's Den, The Write Life, and Realm Makers
Once you’ve found some events to attend or groups to be a part of, here are some ideas on how to develop connections and make the most of your time:
- Put yourself out there as someone who will be a beta reader or do a quick edit for other writers. Most writers are looking for someone who will do these types of things and will happily return the favor.
- Research the gathering and who is putting it on before you go. It’s useful to know if there's a schedule, who will be there, what audience it's geared toward, and what’s expected from attendees.
- Dress appropriately, because this will be your first impression to many potential friends, collaborators, and supporters. It might be appropriate to dress casually or as a character at a festival, but business attire might be best for a writer’s conference.
- You may feel as though business cards aren’t necessary, but authors are entrepreneurs, and you should definitely have business cards made and hand them out at any events you attend. Have a virtual one as well to attach to email, messages, or texts.
Be friendly, willing to make the first contact, and listen to others. Look to be a part of someone’s network just as much as you are looking to grow your own network. Writers and authors need each other, and each connection you make will benefit everyone involved.
Networking can only help writers and authors, so put yourself out there and get involved today!