The term networking is a common roadblock for others of all stages. The good news is there are ways to not only get around this obstacle but use it for the benefit of your book as well as the good of those also working to make it in the publishing world.
In 2020, the world went globally more online than ever before. However, over the last few years, both online and in-person networking are a normal trend. Neither seem to be disappearing and depending on your personal needs, it’s helpful to grasp how each can benefit you.
Let’s break down both possibilities for author networking:
While both are viable options, there are some instances where one may be more helpful than the other. Before getting into the details, note that while in-person networking adds the power of nonverbal communication, online networking can also be a major factor contributing to your success.
In-Person Author Networking
Networking in-person brings many pros and is a powerful form of meeting like-minded individuals who may offer help you can not obtain on your own. If you are a more introverted writer and prefer staying behind the keyboard, consider starting at smaller in-person events, such as a book club or library meet-and-greet.
There are five main in-person networking events to cover:
First, let’s start with the power of mutual interaction via a book club.
1 – Book Clubs
Whether you are an established author or an aspiring writer who wants to connect with other creatives, joining a book club is a great way to network in person in a lowkey environment. You can start your own book club, research book clubs in your area, or join an online book club.
A book club is a unique way to network due to the nature of the club: Writers are focused on discussing a particular book or author, their work, and engaging with those around them. Without needing to ask any particular questions, you can discover a great deal about the writers in the group, how you can help them, and how they could potentially help you.
2 – Writer Groups
A writing group can be compared to a more formal book club. In a writing group, members show up in order to discuss their own work, gain insight from other writers, and offer constructive feedback.
Engaging in this type of group helps you identify areas of growth in your writing, what you should lean into because you are already doing it well, and how you can help others.
You may discover you have a proclivity for identifying how to better others’ writing. Joining a writer group could be the nudge you need to jump into professional editing or even coaching. Regardless, writing groups are crucial for a writer’s growth in both writing and networking.`
3 – Faith Communities
Particularly if you write nonfiction or religious fiction, a faith community could be a potential place for effective networking. For instance, if you wrote a religious book and attend a large church, your community may be open to hosting a summer book club and using your book.
If you write fiction, you could research how other religious authors have impacted their faith communities through their writing. Francine Rivers and her novel, Redeeming Love, is a classic example of how inspirational, romantic fiction can create a positive impact.
If you belong to a faith community, take advantage of how you can impact those in your sphere of influence with your creative talent.
4 – Library Events
Attending a library event in your town can be a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone without feeling too nervous. Library events are more relaxed and much smaller than a conference or convention.
If you feel the need to network in person, conduct research and discover what local events are scheduled in the next few weeks or months. Mark those dates on your calendar and go prepared to meet other writers, authors, and creatives.
5 – Conferences & Conventions
In-person conferences and conventions (and online conferences) are perhaps one of the most efficient ways to network. Whether you attend a small conference or large convention, attendees come from all over to engage, network, and share knowledge.
Conferences offer a myriad of ways to network with those around you. Workshops, one-on-one meetings, keynote sessions, and breakout sessions are some of the ways to engage with other attendees, speakers, and faculty.
Online Author Networking
Online networking is a fantastic way to network from the comfort of your home, save time with travel, and invest in your platform without paying to travel anywhere. While in-person networking allows the power of inflection and other types of nonverbal communication, sometimes online is the best way to go.
#1 – Communities
There are countless online communities where you can meet other writers from around the world. Whether you choose to join an online community such as The Write Life, Realm Makers or the Freelance Writers Den, you are sure to engage in networking.
Remember, whether you want to network to further your writing career or to help other writers further theirs, usually, online communities give the added benefit of both.
#2 – Forums
Online forums provide a plethora of opportunities for writers in various stages to interact with like-minded creatives. In a forum, the writing craft can be a focal point of discussion, but opportunities such as writing contests or even work can also be discussed.
If you have a specific question or writing tip to contribute, consider taking it to an online forum where you can help many as well as receive advice from countless individuals.
#3 – Social Media
Social media, with all its pros and cons, is a necessity for today’s writers. Whether you choose to:
- Connect with other writers on Twitter via the hashtag #WritingCommunity or #amwriting
- Create a TikTok account to build your network
- Spend time on Instagram posting about your writing journey
…social media is a hot spot for various forms of networking. Use it with discretion, and make use of what it offers you.
#4 – LinkedIn
This social platform is a more professional way to share your expertise via your personal profile, connect with others in your industry, and network with individuals you may not be able to on platforms such as Twitter.
Using LinkedIn allows you to send personal requests to connect and include a note of introduction. Since LinkedIn is a more professional platform it can be a helpful way to more directly connect with those in the industry you couldn’t as easily on other platforms.
You can get more freelance writing jobs, connect with editors of your favorite magazines / online publications, and even spruce up your profile and use their tools to attract more clients and ultimately more income. For more information on this topic of social networking through LinkedIn, see:
- Related: Use LinkedIn to Attract New Clients
- Related: 7 Ways Writers Can Find Freelance Writing Jobs
- Related: How to Succeed as a Freelance Writer on LinkedIn
Networking, The Backbone To Publishing
Networking is crucial to your success as a writer. Not only can meeting the right people open doors you never dreamed of, but it can speed up a journey that would take much longer to go alone.
As you network in-person and online, keep in mind that the writer, marketer, designer, or editor you speak with is a real person with feelings and goals. Help them pursue their dreams as well. You will grow in your career, and your reputation will grow as well. The writing industry is a team effort after all. Happy networking!