When I began my writing career at age 16 and my published career at age 29, I had always been an island. After publishing and beginning the long hard road I was flying pretty much solo in the beginning.
This was not by my own choosing. That was the hand I was dealt. I didn’t know anyone or knew where to find the resources available to me on publishing and marketing a book. There was no one I knew on and off the Internet that could help me. I pretty much had a crash course on the whole thing and had to learn everything on my own “on the job”.
Then I began to slowly build my network and joining author groups. As I was constructing the network, I met Rachel Thompson on Twitter and she was tweeting about a group called IBC. Eager to plug into an author group of any kind, I decided to join and check it out.
Then one day I catch a tweet about IBC starting a new stream called SciYourFi. I decided to volunteer here and immerse myself and connect with some fellow authors in my genre. Since I have joined IBC and became involved, my network has really expanded and I have learned a lot about using social media in addition to what I had learned on my own. By doing this I have found and plugged in to quite a few other author groups along the way.
A lot of indie authors start out as islands, so I am not the only one it happens to. The main premise here is not to remain that way; authors have to actively search and find people and groups to connect to and reach out. Get involved with groups you come in contact with and like.
You could say I am probably one of the shyest people on the planet, but when I connect with people on social media, I am connecting to them my preferred method of communication: writing.
If you find yourself on the deserted island start lighting signal fires. Start flashing your mirrors at passing airplanes. Draw attention to yourself. You have to actively get people to know you exist and that you want to connect. Sometimes rescue only occurs if the person does something to help themselves.
Here are a few pointers from my own experience to help:
- Use search functions on Twitter, Goodreads, Librarything, and Google to look for fellow authors and groups to plug into.
- Start engaging with people who seem interested in what you have to say. Build relationships.
- Look for authors in your genre. You will find much in common with them!
- Don’t hesitate to cross over into other genres too.
- When engaging with other authors, exchange intel and resources. That’s the whole point in networking
So, in summary, don’t remain an island. Swim out to the mainland!