Cultivating relationships with fellow authors and readers comes with a learning curve for new authors. Can we ask for favors? How pushy is too pushy?
Have no fear, my friend! In today’s post, I’m covering the Dos and Don’ts I’ve learned in my three years as an indie author and will share my tips on how to effectively network in the writing and reader communities.
Be Professional When Corresponding and Posting
If you want your writing to be taken seriously, you will need to take writing seriously outside of your work in progress. Use proper etiquette, formatting, and greeting/closing lines when emailing peers. Proofread everything before posting it online. An occasional spelling mistake or typo is understandable, but when both are rampant in your online writing, readers can assume your published works will read the same way.
We’re all guilty of saying things online to others that we wouldn’t say to them if we were face-to-face. It’s easy to think people on the Internet aren’t really people because you can’t physically see them. But, that’s not the case. As an author, it is vital to treat fellow authors and readers as you would treat anyone you interact with in real life. Be kind. Be courteous. Be gracious. If someone else is rude to you, learn to ignore it and only take constructive criticism.
Build Genuine Relationships
Shallow people are a real turn-off both online and in person. Sure, it can be harder to see how shallow people are online, but it can be done. This is why it is important for authors to go into their author platforms with the mindset of wanting to build genuine relationships with their fellow authors and readers. If you want people to like your books, be an author they can like. Do this by being yourself and communicating with your followers. Put thought into how you answer comments (unless they’re spammy, then feel free to delete 😛 ). Help other authors whenever you can. Acknowledge your readers. All this adds up to building a community around your platform.
Make Your Content About the Community
There’s nothing worse than salespeople of any kind posting “buy my stuff”, “get this great deal”, or “message me for more information on how you can buy” every single day. These are the kinds of accounts that get muted or unfollowed regularly. Don’t be this person. Instead, offer content that adds to the community. Post content that helps others in your community. Post bonus content from your books that readers will enjoy. It’s fine to market your books, but don’t beat people over the head with them. 😉
Take Criticism With an Open Mind and a Grain of Salt
It’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us and try to “talk sense” into people who don’t get our creative work, but learn from my past mistakes… do not argue with someone who gives you negative feedback. Instead, we as authors need to develop thick skin, learning to take feedback graciously but with a discerning eye. Not all feedback should be taken seriously, but that doesn’t mean we have the right to argue or act ugly to whoever gave us that feedback.
Rite lyke dis 😛
*Cringes* You are an author, my dear. Do not, I repeat, do not ever use texting language/abbreviations in emails or posts that you want to be taken seriously. You can be silly in posts sometimes and use them sparingly, but don’t make it a regular habit. Unless your writing something to a reader or author who you have a casual relationship with, try not to use texting language.
Cold Message People
In fact, don’t cold message anyone, no matter if you’re an author or not. It’s highly disrespectful.
For those who may not be familiar with the term, cold messaging is the act of messaging someone who you have little to no acquaintance with and asking them to do you a favor, mostly in the form of purchasing something from you.
As I mentioned earlier under Build Genuine Relationships, please get to know someone first before asking them to do you a favor, and be willing to do the same in return for them. However, I never recommend messaging anyone to ask them to buy your book. Let them decide on their own terms.
Act a Fool
Don’t have hissy fits online. If you get a bad review, if someone gives you negative feedback, don’t broadcast it for the world to see. Posting about how someone has done you wrong not only can make you look bad, but it feeds drama.
As much as I’m not a fan of Elsa, just let. it. go.
Post About Your Book 24/7
Like I mentioned before, these are the kind of accounts that get muted or unfollowed on the daily. We as authors get excited about our books and want to market them so people will know they are out in the world, but people also want to get to know the person behind the book. Social media was not created to be an online magazine of things to buy. Instead, it was created for users to interact with one another. Find a balance of marketing and interacting, and you’ll be golden.
Boast Your Accomplishments
There’s nothing wrong with sharing what you’ve accomplished with the world, but do so with a humble heart. Always remember that 1) You didn’t find success alone, and 2) Humble-bragging is still bragging.
Authors Aren’t One-Man Shows
If you search among lists of best-selling authors, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who did everything on their own to get there. They most likely had a cover designer, an editor, a proofreader, a writing buddy… the list goes on and on. If anyone ever tells you they found success 100% on their own, I can almost guarantee they’re taking credit from at least one other person, if not more. Give credit where credit is deserved, and give back to those who have helped you.
Humble-Bragging is Still Bragging
And ah, the humble-brag. Otherwise known as fake modesty. Seeking attention or praise, mostly on social media.
For example, an author could humble-brag by saying “To be my most cringe-worthy writing looking back, my debut novel sure is making a ton of money!” or “Oh, I have terrible writer’s block and only wrote 2,000 words today. I’m such a failure.”
If you’re making “a ton of money” or are writing 2,000+ words a day, you’re doing extraordinarily well for yourself. Many authors haven’t reached those points yet. Don’t “complain” about your amazing skills to seem down-to-earth. People can see through that. Share your ups and downs instead. Be relatable and don’t sit on a high horse, insinuating anyone who does less than what you’re “scolding yourself for” is a peasant of an author. Each author’s journey is different, and paces of success may vary.
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What other Dos and Don’ts of networking as an author can you think of? Comment below with your suggestions!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.