A Field Guide to Networking With Your Fellow Authors
We talk a lot in these posts about the importance of finding, engaging with, and activating your list of readers and fans. This is important. It’s hugely important. But it’s not the only important thing.
Another thing you should be doing is building long-term relationships with your fellow author peers. We’re not talking here about the already best-selling writers you’re a fan of yourself (those will come with time), but rather about the working writers whose careers are around or about where you are. With these peers by your side you can do things like:
- Promote each other’s books
- Engage meaningfully on each other’s social media, to increase your metrics and get more views
- Collaborate on email blasts and promotions
- Do guest posts on each others’ newsletters, blogs, and other outlets
- Help each other with rewrites and edits
- Take a vacation, trusting your friend to cover for you while you’re gone, then returning the favor in kind
Beyond these specific, logistical benefits, having author friends gives you a community to talk shop with. You can commiserate about the hard parts of writing, share resources that solve problems, and keep one another abreast of news and trends within writing in general and your genre in particular.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this, and that starts with how you approach it. First, your goal here isn’t to make valuable business contacts. Your goal here is to make friends. This all works best if you’re a group of friends helping one another out. You’ll get some benefit if it’s more like colleagues, but not as much…and you’ll get zero benefit if you’re approaching this simply as a transaction. Don’t go in to this looking to use people. They’ll notice, and they don’t like it.
Beyond that, there are a few questions we’ll address in this post. How do you find the right authors to partner with? How do you make those connections once you identify good candidates? What strategies work best to forge those relationships? Once they’re forged, what are the best ways to maintain them by weaving a fabric of mutual support and appreciation?
Let’s find out, starting with…
The qualities of a good partner
Image by Gerd Altmann.