networking for writers

It doesn’t matter if you’ve written the most amazing book in the world if no one can find it.

By now, we all know that—discoverability is king. People can’t buy your book if they don’t know it’s out there, ready and waiting to solve their problem, and so you have to ensure that people can come across it when they’re searching for related topics.

But discoverability also applies to you personally as an author. People can’t fall in love with your writing, become fans, and support your author career if they don’t know you exist and can’t find you!

Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to throw open potlucks at your house every week, engage 24/7 on every single social media channel (and a few that haven’t been invented yet), and generally sacrifice your privacy and sanity to the fishbowl of public life.

But it does mean that you have to make it relatively easy for people who are interested in your writing and your career to find you, contact you, and share with you.

Here’s why—and how to make it happen!

why you should make yourself easy

Finding New Opportunities

Keeping your contact information updated is absolutely critical for finding and taking advantage of new opportunities.

You never know who’s going to come across your book or how. Plenty of authors have been approached by foreign rights agents interested in selling translations of their books in other countries.

Other opportunities can also come up—agents and others often approach authors of interesting books to talk about TV and movie rights, audiobooks, and more.

If you’re a nonfiction author, you might find chances to speak at corporate functions or to community groups—and this is a great way to build your credentials while making some public speaking income on the side! Plus, you can sell your books at the event.

But none of these great opportunities matters if the interested person can’t get in touch with you.

Personally, I’ve encountered way too many bounced emails when I try to reach out to authors to help promote their books—all too often, I get a “mail undeliverable” message back, saying that the email address listed on the author’s website or Amazon Author Central profile is no longer working!

It doesn’t take much to keep your contact information updated in all the places that agents, editors, producers, rights brokers, speaking firms, and others might be looking for someone with your specific talents.

So make sure that email’s updated and working!

Making Deeper Connections

People crave connections.

It’s one of the reasons the self-publishing revolution and indie authors have been so successful—by removing the gatekeepers and allowing readers and writers to interact more directly, it creates a sense of community that just can’t be beat.

Instead of making your readers jump through hoops to find out more about you, learn about your next book, and support your career, make it simple to connect!

That means putting an up-to-date contact tab on your author website and making it easy to find at a glance so that anyone who wants to reach out can do so.

Keep in mind, too, that part of forging these deeper connections involves making sure that people want to connect with you.

If someone goes to your website and all they see is a list of books and maybe a few blog entries from two years ago, they’re not going to be encouraged to follow you. Heck, it might even seem like you’re not writing anymore!

So make an effort to update your website every so often—you can automate this by importing your Twitter or Facebook feed to appear to add new content to the site, or by pushing your blog posts out to Facebook or Twitter. Either one means that you’re cutting down on how much you have to post while also still keeping things fresh and interesting for your followers.

If you have a new book coming out or an upcoming event, add that to the website. Give your readers something to get excited about and to keep coming back for!

Even if you don’t love social media, you can still take advantage of the human impulse to connect by allowing your readers to drop you a note through your website or sign up for your author newsletter.

Building Word of Mouth

As people start connecting with you, they’re going to want to share the awesome books they just found—and to recommend that their friends follow you, too.

But it’s clunky and annoying to have to email a friend and say, “Hey, I found this great book! You can get it on Amazon…but I don’t know when the next one is coming out. I guess you should just buy it and then remember to search Amazon every so often to find out? That’s what I’ll do, maybe.”

Yeah, about that. Too many hoops to jump through.

Instead, make it quick and easy for your new friends to spread the word. Give them a way to send email referrals. Post links to your social media. Add a “tell a friend” or “share this page” widget to your website.

Make sure everything is working—broken links are worse than no links at all!

And keep them all updated. The only thing worse than not being able to follow a new favorite author and tell all your friends about their great book is feeling like the author’s abandoned you by not posting, updating, or sharing, even if it’s just once a month or so.

What Info Do You Need to Share?

Your personal preferences for how to stay in touch with your audience will guide what info you share with them.

Often, it’s best to have a little gap between your professional life and your personal life. Do you really want your everyday email to be flooded with notes from fans, keeping you from seeing that important message from your mom?

Email

I recommend setting up an email just for your writing. It doesn’t have to be part of a fancy self-hosted domain like [email protected]—just a simple free email address will do, as long as it’s tied to your name and your writing. Many authors do just fine with [email protected] or [email protected]

Just keep it simple and professional—now’s not the time for a handle like [email protected]

Contact Form

You can also use a contact form to add another layer of privacy if you want—you won’t be able to respond without someone seeing your email address, but you don’t have to put it all out there where spammers can easily find it, either.

Adding a contact form to your website is pretty easy—most WordPress themes have a contact form page built right in, and other website builders like Shopify and Wix also allow you to add a pre-made contact page template.

You can also use a variety of plugins and widgets to create more customized contact forms.

Social Media

Another great way for readers to get in touch with you is on your favorite social media channels.

Not only are you right where readers might be looking to connect with you, but you’re also able to keep things compartmentalized—if you don’t want to get swamped with emails, you can just point people to your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to manage your communication.

Make sure to include links on your author website and any profiles you have set up on Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere to make it easy for readers to find and follow you.

Again, WordPress and most website-building tools make it easy to add Social Connect buttons with icons and links for the most popular services across the globe.

make yourself easy to find on Facebook

Where to Reach You

So with all that in mind, where should your readers be able to reach you?

The simple answer is: anywhere they might look for you.

You always want to make things as easy and painless as possible for folks. Ask someone to jump through too many hoops and they’ll just get frustrated and quit trying.

So don’t hide your contact information away and make people go through 10 layers of sub-menus and clicking to connect with you.

Author Website

It’s always best to control your own presence online—not out of any need for privacy or ruling your world with an iron fist, but just because it means no one can change stuff on you without your permission.

Facebook or Amazon might change their policies, but on your own website, you can always guide how you want to appear.

With that in mind, every author needs a website! It’s super-easy to do: you can create a WordPress blog and website in 30 minutes even if you have absolutely no tech skills.

And one of the first things to put on that website is your contact page.

Make it easy to spot—put a link or tab right at the top of the page and consider adding contact info to a sidebar that includes a headshot and basic bio.

If you change your contact information at any point, update it on your website first thing! It’s as easy as updating the link on your contact form or page.

Avoiding Spam

Here’s a tip to avoid spam: if you type out your email address anywhere on your website, spell out AT and DOT instead of using symbols. This makes it harder for bots to pick up your email address and start spamming you.

For instance, joe AT joebloggswrites DOT com won’t get spammed nearly as easily as [email protected], which an app or program can easily recognize as an email address and scoop up to add you to a billion new mailing lists you don’t care about.

create an amazon author page

Amazon Author Central Profile Page

Keep your Amazon Author Central profile page updated, too.

It’s easy—just update your Profile tab and the new information will appear on your Author Page on Amazon.com.

It’s a good idea to keep an updated email accessible in your Author Page biography and to link your blog and Twitter feeds here so that readers have even more easy ways to get in touch.

Don’t have an Author Central profile yet? It’s easy to get started! Here’s how to set up your profile, complete with a video guide.

Goodreads author page

Goodreads Profile Page

It’s also a good idea to keep your contact information up to date and visible on Goodreads, because of how many devoted readers use the site.

You can easily connect your blog and social media channels, as well as post your email address for readers to contact you directly if you don’t want to send them to your website contact form.

And, of course, being on Goodreads means that your readers can message you directly there—but again, you’ll need to keep your email address up to date to make sure that you get the notification if someone sends you a message!

Book Promotion Sites

Are you on BookBub, Freebooksy, or other sites that let you promote your free and discounted Kindle books?

Be sure to keep your profile updated there, too! When new readers find your book through a promotion, they may not go to your author website immediately—it’s often easiest to just click through to your profile on that website.

So you’ll want to be sure that your website is listed clearly and that your social media information is up to date and easy to find, too. The more ways your new fans have to keep on following you, the better!

 

social media for authors

Social Media Channels

You don’t have to be on every single social media channel—who has time?—but you should experiment and find at least one social network that clicks with your style.

Love to make little updates all the time? Hop on Twitter.

Crazy about visual posts? Give Instagram and Pinterest a try.

Want a deeper connection with your audience and to start a conversation? How about using Facebook—or even Facebook Live videos?

Eager to help your readers solve their problems in even more ways? Try posting YouTube videos.

There’s a social network out there for just about anyone, and you can use any or all of them to promote your work.

Just be sure to always keep your contact info there updated—you don’t have to post your author email address for the whole world to see in your Twitter profile, but always link to your author website and make it possible for readers to get in touch with you.

Accept DMs and private messages, if you’re comfortable doing so—it’s a good way to start building deeper connections with your audience.

And of course, if you change your email address, be sure to update it with your social media accounts! You don’t want to miss an important message because you didn’t get the notification.

You don’t have to be online all day, every day to make the most of networking opportunities and build up your audience.

All it takes is some smart planning, a few regular updates to your website and social media, and remembering to keep your contact information updated and accurate wherever you roam online.

Keep your contact information easy to find and updated so you never miss another opportunity to connect!

Connect with TCK Publishing on your favorite social media network!

For more on online marketing techniques, read on:

 

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