As a locally based self-published author (and editor with Midnight Publishing; contact us today for a free sample and to discuss your project!), I of all people can understand what a chaotic schedule and a busy hobby and/or career of writing can do to one’s social life—aka, render it nonexistent. Free time is a precious commodity, and for many budding and seasoned authors alike, our word counts and works-in-progress can often take precedent over such basic human necessities as showering and eating food that isn’t microwaveable (hey, no judgment; I’m right there with you). But in the spirit of new years and resolutions, I decided to make a concerted effort to get away from the keyboard and out into the world to continue making meaningful connections with other authors, readers, and bookstore staff. Not only is it inspiring to visit local bookstores and attend author signings, but sometimes you even get a chance to take a few authors out for drinks afterwards to discuss the business, the craft and to commiserate with those who know exactly how you feel! Don’t believe me? Read on for my top author tips on how to make meaningful networking connections, and why it’s so important that you do.
Why Networking is SO Important for Authors
You never know which opportunities might arise when you attend an author signing, a genre book club, Phoenix Comicon, or a writers’ workshop. In the past five years, I’ve attended all four many times, and I’m going to tell you a few personal stories regarding why these experiences were so valuable (and why you should attend them too!). Firstly—I attended a book signing recently with an author I’ve admired for a while: Elise Kova, USA Today bestselling author for her self-published Air Awakens series, who’s now branched into traditional publishing with her newest series, The Alchemists of Loom saga. It was held at Changing Hands bookstore, a local Phoenix author and reader haven, and I went with another close writer friend of mine and someone I met through Twitter: Anna Vera, author of the sci-fi debut, When Stars Burn Out. As luck would have it, Elise remembered Anna and I from our Twitter conversations and agreed to grab a drink with us after the signing. All because we asked! If we hadn’t attended, or hadn’t had the courage to ask Elise to join us, we might’ve missed that opportunity to talk about our personal experiences within the industry and make a lasting connection! Another time at Phoenix Comicon in 2015, I was able to meet a longtime hero of mine: NYT’s bestselling author, Chuck Wendig, when I attended one of his book signings. By another twist of fate, he had some free time and was willing to walk around the convention and share his writing and publishing advice with me. It was absolutely life-changing, and would’ve never happened if I hadn’t been brave enough to introduce myself and invite him for a coffee. Ultimately, what I’ve learned when it comes to networking are these three simple strategies:
1. Don’t be Intimated
Other authors, agents, publishers and editors are just people, and 99.9 percent of the time they feel as excited to be talking with you as you do with them!
2. Be Authentic
The number one way to turn off someone you’re trying to make a meaningful connection with is to immediately jump in with “business” or stats. That might be your end goal, but I can tell you from personal experience that authors who’ve introduced themselves to me by stating “they were always in the Top 100 list on Amazon” was an automatic red flag. Don’t be that person.
3. Find Value in EVERY Interaction
I haven’t always gotten to “hang out” with authors I admire after we meet, sometimes they haven’t given me the time of day, and that’s all right. With each signing, readers’ club, and workshop attended, I’m constantly learning new things about the industry, and how to navigate all personalities involved. Because who knows; maybe one day I’ll also be seated next to that bestselling author on the same stage, and I can be reminded to always show humility to every fan, reader, and budding author I encounter. Never forget where you came from, and never forget what it’s like to be an “aspiring” author; your fans will love you for it.
Midnight Publishing is an Arizona-based editing, ghostwriting, and marketing company with an award-winning staff who will help you realize your writing dreams. Allow our team of editors and writing professionals to perfect your manuscript today—take the first step by contacting us for a free editing sample of your first 1,000 words! Midnight Publishing: trusted with over five million words and counting.