Networking as an author is vital. It’s an ongoing, never ending task that can mean all the difference in the world. The most difficult aspect is that the vast majority of authors are complete introverts that spend most of their time behind a computer writing or with their nose in a book reading. Two tasks that are not conductive to reaching out to meet people and promoting their books.
So how do we do it?
Being active on social media sites like Facebook and Litsy is a great start, especially for introverted personalities. It’s always easier to talk to strangers in an organized Face book chats/events from behind your computer screen. Also there is the added bonus of being able to stay in your t-shirt, leggings and brushing your hair is completely optional. Trust me, for an author, this type of comfortable uniform is vital.
While online events can be effective there are days you have to break out the hairbrush, do some laundry and venture out into the public eye. Because the best way to network and meet people is still face to face.
This is where Book Signings and Book Conventions come in. My personal favourite is RTC. Romancing the Capital in Ottawa, Ontario. It’s a three day event which allows a lot of meet and greet between authors and readers but also there’s lots of time for authors to meet each other and network. I’ve been fortunate to be included an a few projects which were directly the result of getting to know my fellow word wizards at book conventions.
One of the best networking opportunities is being a part of a panel. This is something that allows a smaller group of people the chance to ask questions of authors and get a chance to know them better. I was part of the LGBTQ author panel at RTC last year with Elizabeth Lister and ‘Nathan Burgoine. Two authors I highly respect, and I love their writing.
It looks like there will be a new convention in Toronto next October called Kalicon. While there are lots of events in the US, Canada is really under-serviced in this aspect and I’m really hoping we have more events crop up. So far events like this are what I’ve found to be the most effective way to network in my industry.