(Inter)Networking for Authors: An Introduction
Dane Cobain, a UK author who has published 5 awesome books, has begun writing a series of posts to help his fellow authors gain a step-up. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to publish this portion of his series as a guest post! I am a fan, you will have seen some of his works reviewed here on the site already. Without further a-do, Dane Cobain, everybody!
A lot of people think of writing as a lonely occupation, and in many ways that’s true. After all, authors have to put in hundreds of hours behind a computer screen before a novel’s ready for publication, and then they have to spend hundreds more trying to get the word out about their work. With so much time spent concentrating on a keyboard, it’s no surprise that most prefer to work alone, without distractions.
But that’s the funny thing about being a writer – a lot of the misconceptions are wrong, and it quickly becomes apparent that you can’t do everything on your own. You’ll need to work with editors, proofreaders and cover designers, as well as potentially with agents, publishers, marketers and more.
In fact, modern authors are finding that who they know is often as important as how talented they are, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If a talented writer can hook up with likeminded professionals, it can become a win/win situation for everyone. This is most clearly the case when business owners are looking for writers to create content on their behalf, where money changes hands in exchange for the written word. And it’s also the case when an author signs a deal with a publisher.
What is (Inter)Networking?
I’ll be honest, I made this up – but the concept seems to speak for itself. I’m talking about making new friends the millennial way, by reading their blogs, watching their YouTube videos, liking their Facebook pages and following them on Twitter.
The great thing about the book community is that it’s inherently full of well-read – and therefore more open-minded – people. It makes it one of the most welcoming communities on the net, even taming the notoriously evil comments section on YouTube and turning it into somewhere that people actually help each other.
That’s why it’s so easy to get involved, whether you’re an author, a publisher, a blogger or just a reader who wants to know a bit more about what’s going on behind the scenes. The key is to focus on the stuff that really interests you – don’t make friends with people because you want to get something out of them, make friends with them because you think that their work is amazing.
How to get started with (inter)networking
The first step is simple enough – just get started. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it. That’s part of the beauty of social networking and the internet age – I’m a firm believer that everyone knows how best to manage their presence because there’s nothing more authentic than simply being yourself.
That said, you can get started by liking the pages of the authors you read. Discover a few new blogs and leave comments to add your thoughts to the discussion. Follow a few new people on Twitter. Start discussions of your own about the books that you read. Consider sharing ratings and reviews on Goodreads or even starting a book blog of your own.
Remember that you should never ask what’s in it for you. Go out of your way to help other people and they’ll do the same – a bit like karma, except it’s more like taking part in a global community which makes the world a slightly better place.
The good news is that making friends and taking part in a community is reward enough in itself. Your life will be richer because you’ll have more friends and acquaintances and they’ll all love books and writing just as much as you do. Simply by befriending people and watching their achievements over time can bring a warm, fuzzy feeling inside – and if you get to work with them professionally then even better.
I have first-hand experience of the benefits of (inter)networking. That’s how I was offered a publishing deal with Booktrope, which kickstarted my career as an author. I’d worked with Booktrope a few times in the past, featuring their authors on my book blog – I loved the look and feel of their books, as well as the quality of their releases, and then I was asked to submit my work by their head of community.
Alas, Booktrope is no longer in business, but it was an important lesson for me in how making friends and keeping up to date with the industry can help in unexpected ways. That’s why I try to be as active in the community as I can be, and why I try to support indie authors by reading their books and posting reviews. You should try it sometime.
Over to you:
Do you network with other book-lovers online? Where are some of your favourite places to do so? Let me know with a comment or feel free to tweet me at @DaneCobain.
About the author
This post is written by Dane Cobain and sponsored by Publishing Addict, an organisation that specialises in building author websites to help writers to establish a brand, connect with their readers and to sell more books.