I’m off to Thrillerfest in a few days, a conference for thriller authors and fans. I’ll be reporting back soon and I know many of you also attend conferences over the summer period as well.
I also attend events in London for publishers and authors. It’s amazing how few authors actually come to these things, and I think it’s because we’re basically introverts and find the networking difficult. Today, Laura Austin from BookMachine gives us a few tips.
Getting to know publishers, self-publishing partners and promoting your novel to avid readers are crucial ways to help you build your fan base, either before or after you actually get published.
Whether you decide to sell ebooks and build an online community, or think that speaking at gigs will raise your profile best, there’s always a need to get out there and meet people face-to-face.
We organize regular events for folks connected to the publishing industry and have put together a list of tips below. If we’ve missed any out, please do add them in below!
Make the time
Undoubtedly the most important part of your job is writing, right? You are a content creator and need to invest your energies in writing in the best way you can. What about making time for networking? Why not identify a couple of events a month to attend and make the time to go to them too?
Prepare in advance
Many writers are introverts and as such, it can be intimidating to turn up to an event without knowing who to speak to. Many events now will have some kind of list that you can find out attendees on. Or you can search for the event or hashtag on Twitter. Find out a few things about people you’d like to talk to so you have something prepared for an initial conversation. Once you’re at your ease, you can broaden your networking horizons.
If you arrive early at events you’ll have time to relax ahead of speaking to other guests. You’ll also be able to connect with other early-birds in a smaller setting. Although arriving fashionably late might work for social occasions, when it comes to networking you need to be on top of your game and rushing in late and apologetically isn’t going to help you to focus and give your best to the people you meet.
However excited you are to tell others about your new novel, you need to reign it in and be more interested in the person you are speaking to. If you make them feel like they’re the most interesting person in the room, they are much more likely to want to read your novel than if you’ve told them every intricate detail about your writing schedule. This also relates to preparation above as you can show a lot more interest if you know about the person beforehand.
Don’t answer your phone or check your text messages whilst networking. Similarly, if you see an influential publisher in the room, never avert your gaze – give the person you are speaking to 100% of your attention, even if it’s clear that there’s no common ground. A good way to move on is to simply say: ‘so who else would you like to meet this evening?’ …
If you do meet interesting folks who might help you promote your work, the follow up is key. It normally takes about 10 impressions (meeting, email, seeing on Twitter etc) for you to make a lasting impact on someone – so don’t give up after the first email. There are so many ways to connect online, so follow them on Twitter, invite them to connect on Linkedin, send an email or even a letter! People are busy and it’s your responsibility to make sure you stay on their radar.
Do you attend publishing events? What are the challenges you find with them?
Laura Austin is co-founder of BookMachine, a fast growing publishing network which consists of a website and regular events. Our bi-monthly events attract 100+ delegates from different publishing related associations. You can follow @bookmachine on Twitter
If you live in London, why not come to our next party on 26th July? You can sign up here to make sure you get a ticket.
Image: Flickr CC Josh Kenzer