At some point, I think we writers need to just stop saying that writing is a solitary profession. It’s just not true anymore if it really ever was. Yes, you write your book alone. Yes, you succeed or fail all on your own.
But we’re not alone. Feel free to play You Will Be Found from the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack. That’s where I’m going with this.
Writers are generous with each other. We want to reach back and help the people farther back on the path than us. I know I feel that way. Why do you think I still write about writing here? I’m always learning new things, and I want to share those things with all of you.
Networking with other writers is important. I know it can be hard, especially for introverts like me. It’s even harder when you can’t attend cons regularly. Or, you know, at all.
Fortunately, the internet is here to help us. I’ve found networking with other authors online to be fun, easy and really freaking helpful. Here are eight effective ways to network with other authors.
Yes, I know that Twitter can be toxic. But it can also be pretty awesome if you know how to use it right. (Step one of using Twitter right is turning off DMs. Just saying.) That aside, I love Twitter.
Every Thursday and Friday some other Solstice writers and I do a thing called #twitterstories. We all write little Twitter stories based on the same picture.
I also follow a lot of the literary agents and editors I want to submit to. Funny thing, agents and editors are often pretty darn entertaining to follow. They also give good advice for submitting not only to them but to other agents as well.
It’s also fun to follow other writers in your genre, just to see what they’re up to. Maybe someone just found a really cool new site to make ads on. Maybe someone wants to do a collaboration. Maybe someone just needs a hand promoting and you’ve got that hand to offer.
Bookstagram and other Instagram hashtags
I love talking to people on Instagram. The hashtags don’t work quite the same way as other platforms. Or maybe they do and I’m just not using hashtags right on other social media platforms. Who knows.
Anyway, when you look for the #bookstagram on Instagram, it’s like opening a doorway to a whole group of people who really freaking love books! They love reading books, talking about books. They love taking really beautiful pictures of books. They love everything about books, and I love just dwelling among them. And these pictures, you guys. Some of these photographers are freaking talented!
I’m still working my way toward using the KDP forum, but I understand it’s a place I need to be. There are so many people out there with answers to the questions I’m sure you have. Because we all have questions about writing. (I’m trying to figure out if it’s skeevy to use Amazon reviews in promotions. Does anyone know? I mean, I’ve seen other authors do this, but I don’t know if they asked permission. How do I do this thing?!)
Blogs, podcasts, and newsletters
You know, like the one you’re reading right now. Reading other author’s blogs, listening to their podcasts and reading their newsletters are great ways to connect with them. Having your own author blog, podcast or newsletter is a great way to get connected with. While I do listen to a good amount of podcasts, I honestly don’t read as many bloggers as I should. So, if you know of any blogs about writing or reading that I’m missing out on, feel free to leave a link in the comments. Even if they’re your own.
I belong to a bunch of different writing and promotion groups on Facebook, but to be honest I really only pay attention to two. I’ve found that when it comes to Facebook groups, more is less. The thing about groups is that you’re going to get out of them what you put in. I belong to my publisher’s Facebook group and the Science Fantasy group that I moderate. I am active in both of these groups, talking about marketing stuff and looking for people who want to work together. Some people like to belong to groups that work on stories together. Some people like book swaps. Whatever you want to get out of the groups, there’s probably one for you.
Talking to people
I’m pretty sure I did a whole blog post about this once. But quite frankly, it bears repeating. It bears repeating because it’s something that as a socially anxious person I hate, hate, talking to people face to face. I hate feeling like I’m inconveniencing them or bragging. I have this overwhelming fear that I’m going to tell someone “I’m a writer,” and they’re going to smile and nod. They’re going to smile and nod and think that I’m a poser. One of those people who throws up unedited garbage on Amazon because literally, anyone can do that.
Turns out, no one has ever thought that. I’ve made an effort to tell people I’m a writer. And I’ve met some awesome people this way. I’ve met people who can help me, people who I can help. People who want to tell me stories. People who want to hear my stories.
I talked to the manager of my local book store, and she got me in touch with other writers. I talked to the people at my day job, and it turns out that some of them are writers too. I talk to everyone I can about it, and I feel like a writer.
So, what do you think? How do you network outside of a con? Let us know in the comments below.
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I struggle with this and I appreciate that it’s just an excuse – the perfect get out of jail free card for introverted writers to not reach out to others. I’m trying though and I’ve found that blogs area great entry point. Other authors are so generous with their knowledge, experience and time, and I’ve learnt so much from reading their blogs. I had less luck with sites like Scribophile and I’m just dipping my toes into the water when it comes to Insta and Twitter. All in good time, thought.
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