Owning a business is hard work, and like it or not, being an author is a business. For the most part, an author is responsible for writing a book (hopefully a fantastic book), getting the book to an editor, working the edits once they return, publishing the book and most  importantly, marketing. If you don’t market your blockbuster, nobody will know it’s out there.

There are many, many, many ways for a hermit to market her book, and I will try to touch on several of them in the next few weeks.   One aspect of marketing that a lot authors seem to neglect is networking. Authors tend to be an introverted bunch so I’ve compiled a list of 5 networking essentials that even the most shy authorial hermit can try.

Networking Tips for the Authorial Hermit

  1. Here’s one that will put you at ease. Don’t try to network with hundreds of people. Joe the plumber who doesn’t like to read not only won’t pass your card around, he’ll probably flush it down the toilet. Better one good networking buddy than twenty Joe the plumbers. Find a few people who know the business, invite them to tea and pick their brain. I have  four or five people whom I can call for advice and who will come running when I call. Why will they come running you may ask…..because of tip #2.
  2. Always be willing to help other people. The idea of networking is an exchange of ideas. Try to discover what you know that someone else might need. Are you really good at WordPress? A lot of your fellow authors need help with their website. Photoshop? Help someone with their book cover. I absolutely guarantee if you help other writers, help will return to you tenfold.
  3. Networking is not always face to face (whew, I can see you wiping your brow over that one) Much of today’s networking is done on the internet. Read blogs and if you see someone with a question or a comment that you can help, do so. If someone has information you think might help you, shoot off an email. One major caveat however, keep the email short and sweet. I once received a request for help from someone who sent me a four page letter explaining what he needed. Remember, other people are just as busy as you are. That said, once you have an established networking friend, don’t be afraid to buy them a coffee so you can chat.
  4. You don’t need to apologize every time you ask for help. Introverts always think they are bothering people and extroverts always think people are thrilled to hear from them. Generally, if you don’t take up too much of a person’s time, they are more than happy to help you over whatever problem you’ve gotten yourself into. Go on, try it!
  5. Finally, Follow Up! People like to know there is someone out there watching out for their best interest. If you help someone, call or email to find out if what you suggested worked. If they helped you, a quick note to say thanks and to say how much you appreciated their help will do wonders for future meetings.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Set a goal to make five new contacts each week, and of those five, maybe one will become an excellent networking contact for you. And the other four? At the very least, there are four more people in the world who might  not wonder why that introverted guy behind the computer over there never takes the time to speak to anyone.