Clinking glasses, putting that well-practiced handshake to use, and nodding and smiling so much your face starts to twitch. Oh the joys…
Good news, as a publisher, you network too!
To Network or Not to Network?
If we’re really being honest here, as a self-publisher and running a self-publishing business…
You’re not just the author, you’re the whole darn publishing house!
You’re the CEO, the CFO, the intern, and occasionally, even janitor.
Your entire book’s journey - be that to success or abject failure - rests on your shoulders.
No pressure or anything.
This is exactly why networking plays a pivotal role in each of these stages. Let’s take a deeper look for a moment:
This gives you exclusive advantages and opportunities to learn from other professionals in the industry and their wealth of experiences. You can discover new writing tools, swap killer marketing strategies, or get advice on handling the challenges of self-publishing.
When done right, you can land yourself with partnerships with other authors, illustrators, editors, and marketing professionals who can help you enhance your work and reach a wider audience.
Marketing and Sales:
Word-of-mouth remains one of the most effective marketing strategies that was ever implemented. And you know what? It’s NOT going anywhere anytime soon.The more people who know about your book, the more likely it is to be recommended. Plain and simple.
Building an Author Platform:
Your network can, will, and should become a part of your author platform, helping you establish a reputation, connect with your audience, and sell more books.
Tips for Successful Networking as a Self-Publisher:
1. Authenticity is your Accessory: Networking is about building authentic relationships. Show genuine interest in others, and aim to provide value in every interaction. Translation: ditch the salesman act and focus on sparking genuine interest and delivering value with each person you meet
2. Have a Clear Message: When communicating with others, be clear about who you are, what you do, and what you're looking for. A concise and engaging pitch can open doors to further conversations.
3. Be Open to Learning: One of the greatest benefits of networking is the opportunity to learn from others. Be open to new ideas and perspectives, and don't hesitate to ask for advice (people LOVE the opportunity to share what they know).
4. Pay it Forward: Networking is not a solo dance, but a waltz. If you want help from others, be ready to offer your assistance too. This could be anything from providing feedback on a manuscript, sharing a useful resource, or promoting others' work on your platforms. The more freely and openly you give, the more people will trip over themselves to return the kindness.
5. Follow Up: Never let the curtain drop after the first act. A quick "thank you" email, a LinkedIn invite, or a social media shout-out can transform fleeting encounters into long-term professional bonds.
How to Network as a Self-Publisher: A Step-By-Step Guide:
Identify Your Goals:
Like any business strategy, your networking efforts should be guided by clear goals. Whether that’s establishing new connections, grow your audience, generating brand awareness buzz,or expanding outreach…
Whatever your goals may be, make them clear, concise and MEASURABLE.
Build Your Author Brand:
Before you start networking, ensure you have a strong author brand. This includes a professional author bio, a polished website, and active social media profiles. Your brand should communicate who you are, what you write, and what makes you unique.
Be mindful to never lose sight of your voice and personality.
Leverage Social Media:
Social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, can be effective tools for networking.
Join groups for writers and self-publishers, participate in relevant discussions, and share useful content.
Remember, networking is about engaging, not promoting. Build relationships before promoting your books - that part comes later.
Attend Writer's Conferences and Festivals:
Writer's conferences and festivals are valuable networking opportunities. This way, you can meet other authors, learn from industry experts, and even pitch your book to agents and publishers.
Even though you are not here to advertise, come prepared with an elevator pitch about your book and business cards to hand out. You never know when lighting is going to strike.
Join Writing and Publishing Organizations:
Organizations like the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) or the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) offer resources and networking opportunities for self-publishers.
In fact, they host events, provide educational materials, and have online forums where you can connect with other members.
Connect with Local Writing Communities:
Local writer's clubs, library events, and book fairs can be excellent networking opportunities. They allow you to connect with other local authors, learn from their experiences, and even organize joint promotional events.
Nurture Your Network:
Networking is not just about making initial contact - it's about maintaining and nurturing those relationships over time.
Follow up on initial meetings with a thank you note, engage with your contacts on social media, and be generous with your time and knowledge.
Everything needs to feel natural, nothing forced or artificial.
How to Network in a Digital Age:
Given that most of us operate primarily in a digital environment (at least some of the time), consider these tips to network in the digital era:
Participate in Online Events
Webinars, online workshops, and virtual book fairs are excellent opportunities to connect with fellow authors and industry professionals. Royalty Hero hosts weekly and monthly forums, along with discussions, where you can hear from the founder himself, Sean Dollwet, as well as meet countless people in different stages to network.
Engage on Social Media
Comment on posts, participate in discussions, and share valuable content. Use hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts, and don't forget to respond to comments on your own posts.
Join Online Communities
Online forums and communities for writers and self-publishers can be goldmines for networking and learning. Royalty Hero’s Facebook Page is home to over 5,000 people and is still growing.
Host Virtual Events
Hosting your own online events, like book launches or author Q&As, can help you connect with readers and fellow authors alike.
Networking is an essential skill for self-publishers. It allows you to learn from others, form valuable collaborations, and effectively market your books.
As you go about this, remember that networking is a long-term investment. The day you plant the seed is not the same day you reap the harvest.