Establishing an author network is one of the most beneficial things you can do as an author.
However, if you’re like a lot of writers, the concept of proactively building a mutually supportive social group may feel unnatural at first. It might even be uncomfortable.
If you stop and think about it, the practice of author networking is about as far from the act of writing as possible. Writing is usually conducted on your own, a solitary, creative pursuit. A lot of introverts feel they are suited to the writing life as a result.
Networking, on the other hand, requires you to step out of your comfort zone and make connections with others. Not only that, but an author network cannot simply be established and forgotten about. It requires effort and attention to keep it going.
So why should you go to the trouble?
Simply put, a well-constructed author network is worth its weight in gold over the course of your author career.
This article will explore exactly why and provide advice on how to build a network of your own.
What are the benefits of an author network?
If the concept of an author network is something brand new to you, it’s only natural you will want a clear understanding of its benefits before investing the time to build one.
Don’t worry – there are many benefits!
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of having a network of supportive authors to rely on is being able to lean on others for support during your writing process.
As mentioned earlier, writing is often a solitary pursuit. The people in our lives, such as spouses and friends, may try to be supportive, but they often lack firsthand experience to truly understand the challenges of writing.
Having a group of people in the same boat as you is therefore essential. Whether to provide emotional reassurance to one another during the toughest times, or simply to have good humor about the process of writing, the level of support you will receive cannot be overstated.
Author networks have more to offer than just support however.
Your network is a great place to share ideas and insights about the writing world. You can comment on the latest trends in publishing and discuss your reaction to them. You can also swap recommendations for tools such as writing software or share word of mouth feedback about services you’ve used.
When it comes to the time of your book launch, your author network is truly invaluable. You can get your network to share your book, leave a review close to launch, and offer feedback and suggestions on your book marketing strategy.
Ultimately, the benefits of an author network are too many to list in full. Hopefully, from the few we’ve mentioned, you can start to picture just how valuable it might be.
How can you begin to build a network as an author?
So you see the potential value of an author network.
But how do you start the process of networking? What are some tips to spend your time effectively when starting out on your networking journey?
The good news it that building your network is easier than ever before. The rise of the internet and everyone having access via their smartphones means its a breeze to connect with others.
A great starting point is specialist writer’s groups on Facebook. You should aim to strike a balance between the type of writing that is closest to your own while also seeking out an active group of a decent size.
Aside from Facebook, there are many specialist writing organizations out there. You might be able to join a society or organization dedicated to the type of writing you prefer. That’s a great place to connect with your fellow authors and form mutually beneficial relationships.
Even though the online world provides the easiest starting point for building a network, don’t dismiss the opportunities you can find offline.
Local writers’ groups are a great place to meet like minded people.
Having an offline component to your author network is good for multiple reasons.
First, some of the deepest relationships we build are carried out face to face. There’s a level of depth that comes from sitting in the same room with someone over a cup of coffee that isn’t always there online.
Second, you probably spend a lot of your writing life at your computer. Getting to meet up with writers in person is a welcome change of pace.
And last but not least – don’t be afraid to reach out to your existing connections.
Perhaps you have friends who also write. Be sure to ask them if they are part of any groups they’d recommend and ask how you can check them out. This is great shortcut that often saves the trial and error of exploring multiple groups until you find the right one for you.
Ideally, you should aim to strike a balance between online and offline connections. Unless you live in a major city, or a town that’s particularly known as a creative hub, it’s likely that most of your network will be based primarily online. But try to mix in at least a few offline connections for a nice change of pace.
How should you maintain your author network?
Now that you know how to go about starting an author network of your own, it’s time to consider some ideas about how to make the most of it and maintain it far into the future.
We’ve seen the following tips and ideas work well for authors:
- Go into your network with looking to give as much value to others as possible. If you approach your author networking in this way, it’s inevitable that people will appreciate you and want to help you out in return. Looking to give as much as possible is truly the best way to eventually receive.
- Respect the tone and mood of any existing writing groups. It’s important to fit in. If a group is serious, it’s probably not the best place to share author memes. Often, there will be written rules and guidelines for group members to follow. Pay attention to these, especially as a new member.
- Try and enjoy your network. Although author networking is related to your creative work, it shouldn’t always feel like work. Enjoy the comradeship and humor that comes from getting together with a group of likeminded people. It can be easy to take it for granted sometimes.
Perhaps the most important tip is to make sure your time spent author networking is balanced. Social networks are designed to be addictive and to monopolize your attention. By all means, be a willing participant, but don’t let author networking distract from your core pursuit of writing and releasing books.
Author networking – final thoughts
Although it might seem like an ordeal at first, the effort needed to set up an author network will be repaid many times over when you need to call upon what it has to offer.
If you’ve made it this far in the article, why not take action after you finish reading?
If you’re brand new to author networking, make the initial steps to discover some places to connect with likeminded authors.
If you already have an author network, take the time to reconnect with some people in it or let the group know about your latest project.
Just because you’ve chosen to self-publish, there’s no need to do everything by yourself. Author networking is a perfect example of how that’s the case.