Networking for Authors


So many writers, unpublished to bestselling, are networking-phobic. They didn’t become writers to schmooze, mingle, and hobnob. If this is you, and you want to NOT get published, and NOT find readers, by all means, continue to ignore this seemingly heinous but totally essential part of the publishing business. Lucky for you, dear friends and writers, we have a new Book Doctors video to help you stop being allergic to promoting and marketing.

When David first comes up with a book idea, he writes a pitch. He starts memorizing that pitch, and whenever anyone asks him what he’s up to, he says, “I’m writing a book.” Now, he’s not one of those people who gets right in your face and goes, “I’ll tell you about my book!” No, someone has to ask what the book is about. Then he has one minute to answer what his book is about. One minute. That’s his pitch. Networking makes you understand what a pitch is and how to make it better.

Why networking is important

While you’re at a party, talking about your book is important because you never know who people know. It turns out, your cousin’s best friend from college is now an editor at Simon & Schuster. Who knew? Talking about your book, while difficult for many people, is essential to getting this book out into the world. Networking could get your name in the subject line of an email to an agent, which will put you at the top of the slush pile. There’s no way to make these connections without opening your mouth.

Writers’ objections to networking

People are shy about their work, nervous about sharing it. They’re afraid. It’s time to confront those fears.

“I’m afraid someone will steal my idea.”

No one is going to steal your idea. Arielle has been working as an agent for twenty-five years, and she’s never seen that happen.

“I don’t want to brag.”

You don’t have to brag to tell someone about your book idea. Talking about your book is part of your job as a writer.

Perfecting your pitch and asking questions

Networking allows you to practice and refine your pitch. You’ll notice as you talk about your book that people might glaze over at certain points. Those are the parts you should cut. You’ll notice when they perk up and when they’re excited, parts you’ll want to accentuate.

Networking is also about being interested in others and asking them questions. Try questions like these the next time you’re at a party or a conference:

  • What are you working on?
  • What’s your book about?
  • Oh, you work at ______, what do you do there? How did you get started?

What if you’re shy?

If you’re nervous about one-on-one, face-to-face networking, turn your attention to social media. You can share where you are in your writing process so others can get involved with the making of your book. Ask other authors about their books. Friend or follow other writers or people in the industry on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. See what they’re talking about and how they’re talking about it.

For example, let’s say you’re writing a book about dogs, and you see all these editors and agents who post about their dogs. That’s important information to know as you network and query your book.

David’s networking story

When David wrote his first book, he didn’t know anyone in the publishing business so he asked everyone he knew if they’d read his book. Turns out, his former commercial acting agent knew someone. She said, “Oh, my goddaughter is a literary agent. Would you mind if I gave her your book?” Well, it turns out that literary agent was Arielle. Not only did David get an agent out of networking, he got a wife.

Read author Kate Forest’s advice for writers, including her thoughts on networking. Need a little more help with networking? We’re here to provide coaching, support, and marketing advice.

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