Authors today are bombarded with a number of choices when it comes to publishing. Traditional publishing options, indie publishing, hybrid publishing etc.
However, one thing remains clear. Your platform consists of people that you have connected to.
Common advice is not to spam people with “buy my book.” on social media and to make actual connections with friends. Sometimes for us introverted authors that can be a challenging as trying to self-edit your own work.
Author Kristin Lamb in her book Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World. Talks about the need to make connections with people and gives an overview of the types of persons that authors need to connect with. It is a great book and one I highly recommend for indie authors.
In this post, I want to give you details on how I go about developing connections in hopes that it might help you.
This series is called” How I do it.” So let me share what I do.
When I go to make connections, I look at two things.
1. What do I have that is of value to another? (Knowledge, resources etc.)
2. And where can I find those who can use that knowledge and resources
3. I’m looking last and what the other has that might be of value to me. And sometimes wondering can I mentor from them? Can I tap into their knowledge?
Overall, when I go online I try to spend some time at least weekly simply looking at whom I can help advance in their authorpreneurship. This does not mean that I have it altogether. It does not mean I am NOT looking to learn from others. (In fact, just the opposite is true. I find that the more I share the more I learn.)
It means that my objective is to give my knowledge and resources away. As a Christian, I believe you reap what you sow and that said act of generosity will at some point return.
So let us walk through how you can use this strategy to build relationships online and subsequently your own platform.
Firstly go on your favorite social media platform: I use those four. (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, Twitter)
Look for groups where you can participate. You are looking for writers groups in general and groups in your genre in particular.
When you join, the groups spend some time reading the posts and learning the culture of the group. What is ok and what is not ok. Who are the moderators and how do they handle group problems. This is important, as you do not want to violate any group norms. It is best to introduce yourself by saying Hi, thank them for allowing you to join, and let them know you want to be a positive contributor where you can.
Now comes the key part. Look for posts where people are asking for help.
I find that when I go into a group there are two types of posts: those that are information sharing and those from individuals looking for assistance. The latter posts you really want to zero in on.
Once you find a “can you help me post”. Then do your best to answer the question the person is asking.
Do not give snarky remarks, general information; give a specific “how to” on how that person can get what they want. Give a link if you know an online resource.
Only answer questions you really know the answer to, or have had experience. Remember you want to give away your knowledge or resources. (A resource by the way can be an author interview, allowing them to guest blog, a book review tweeting something for them to your platform. Anything that might raise their own visibility and or advance them that is within your means to do.)
Remember the goal is to be extremely helpful. Do not answer questions the person has not asked. Do not presume that they do not know other things. Just stick to answering the question they raised in the group. If your not clear about something ask them privately if possible with a direct message.
So to recap.
1. Go online at least weekly with the purpose of helping solve someone else’s problem
2. Join writing groups, and groups in your genre to help facilitate this
3. Introduce yourself to the moderators, learn the groups culture
4. Scan the posts of the group to find those persons who are looking for help
5. Answer their question with a specific “how to”. Do not give generic advice.
Here’s some other tips.
1. Do not popo other people’s answers.
2. If a post has the answer you would have given, find another person to help.
3. Emphasize that this is what worked for you. I.e. It’s your subjective experience that helped get you what you were looking for. Its mileage may vary with others.
4. Always tell them that you hoped that helps!
5. Remember every author is a reader, and has a platform just like you. It may be small or large but they have one. Be a help to others and you might find the favor returned.
If you found this post helpful. In fact I want to do even more by offering you the new book/training I’m working on for free entitled “I’ve finished my novel: now what?” Go ahead and subscribe to my newsletter and get a world of other wonderful helps that I’ve gleaned in writing.
Hope that helps!