Do you network? I've always found that a funny word - almost predatory, even though my background was in marketing and networking was an intrinsic part of that. I love that Google calls it following (as does Twitter) and Facebook is even better calling it friending.
Regardless of what you call it, we've talked before about the need to build an online platform (to make connections and promote yourself as a writer). I find there are three separate areas for a writer to network in, this is my take:
- Readers/Potential Customers - This is obvious. Identify your market. Are your books for tweens or teens? Mystery lovers or die-hard Sci-fiers? Find where they hang out and join their groups (this is a step I need to start taking). E.g. All of my books have dogs in them, some in a small way and some, well, like DOG SHOW DETECTIVE and MY ZOMBIE DOG. So, I could start following people on twitter in dog groups, animal rights and dog showing.
- Publishers/Agents - When you query your dream agent or publisher, you want to know if they Google you, they'll get lots of hits about what a great writer you are - not old family Christmas photos where you're drunk and kissing Santa, who turns out to be your Uncle Gary (not a true story - I promise!).
- Writers - This is the area I started with when I looked at reaching out and connecting with others on the Internet. It may not be the market that purchases my books, but this has been the networks that have informed, guided and motivated me so that my books will be out there for my reader market. The advice you gather from other writers is invaluable. I've taken writing courses through TAFE and completed a BA in Creative and Professional Writing, but my writing has progressed the most since I started blogging and reading writer blogs.
And because I've been attending a few workshops lately, and I want to keep building my circle of writers, I ordered these contact cards. It's a lot simpler than trying to scrawl out your blog address every time you meet someone. And on a budget? I got mine through Vista Print, delivered to my door for about $30. My only tip if you do this, is the card is slightly smaller than a business card and the set text size is a bit small to read, so I enlarged mine by a couple of points. Glad I did.
Have you started networking amongst your reader market yet? Where does your market hang out?