|Networking - doing it right!|
One advice often given to new authors, both traditionally and self published, when marketing their books is to increase their online presence. Fairly straight forward, you’d think, given that these days it’s easier to find people in all walks of life with a Facebook profile or/and a Twitter account, than meet someone who hasn’t.
So far so good. You are on Facebook, you tweet, you may have a blog and a Goodreads author page, but how do you get people to find you and your books?
There are many useful articles on the subject that can be found online and I don’t claim to be an expert in the field, but in my experience I have picked up a few tips on how to have an effective online presence, as well as what doesn’t work.
One of my biggest bugbear in this matter are a certain type of groups and pages on social networks, particularly on Facebook, who invite writers to give visibility to their work and books. Most of these groups end up as walls where authors go to pin their advertising posters – normally in the shape of a link to Amazon – with the invitation to “check out my book”.
The trouble is, that’s all they do. There is no interaction, no community to speak of, they don’t engage in any way with other members of the group and the most likely result is that no one will take the slightest bit of notice of their post.
Imagine if you were at real life party or club meeting. Without saying hello or introducing yourself to anyone, you start giving out business cards and then leave. If you're lucky, one person might take a look at your book, but the majority of people will probably have forgotten about you ten minutes later, while chatting and getting to know the other guests.
Networking with other authors is not only useful, but very rewarding, and joining a proper writing community highly recommended. By that I mean a community where authors can interact, exchange experiences and tips, share useful links and ideas, get to know each other and their respective books and readerships.
I’m lucky enough to have found such a community through my publisher, Crooked Cat Publishing, which runs a lively group on Facebook, open not only to CCP authors, but to other self published/unpublished authors, editors, readers and book lovers. The support and help I have received from everyone has been invaluable, and we have enjoyed more than one lively discussion and a few laughs in the process.
I have also recently joined the RNA (Romantic Novelist Association) and I am looking forward to taking part in the many initiatives the association organises for its members (and non-members) who wish to get to know other writers to share in their experience.
So, by all means, network and join groups, forums and communities, branch out as much as you can, but do it wisely. Don’t just post links to your book and leave. Talk to people, leave comments to their posts, start discussions and share interesting links on a variety of topics, news items, funny photos.
Online presence doesn’t just mean advertising your books. Above all it's about making connections and introducing yourself to others, as a writer and… well, a person!
What other tips would you give for an effective online presence?