Writers tend to be solitary creatures. My last Myers Briggs personality test results listed me as an ESTJ. My "extrovert" score was just over the axis, so I'm really on the fence between introvert and extrovert. I love being around people, but there are times when I have "peopled" enough, and I just want some solitude.
But, relationships are key in everyone's personal and professional lives. Even if it's not in your nature to be outgoing, networking is a skill that writers need to hone. Here are eleven tips to help you with your online and in-person networking.
1. Look for opportunities to volunteer. Helping others is an incredible way to give back. And it gives you an opportunity to meet new people.
2. Join a book group to meet other readers. What a great forum to talk about books!
3. Stay involved with your alumni groups and organizations. Many of these have newsletters for member celebrations. These are great places to announce book launches.
4. I use Facebook to keep up with friends from my hometown and college days. Most of my book news goes on my author page, but I do post every once in a while on my page - especially if it's a book event in a town where I know I have friends and family.
5. I use Twitter to network with readers, book bloggers, writers, and librarians. It's a vast source of information, and if I have a research question, I can always find help.
6. I have joined several blogging network groups on Facebook. These have helped me set goals and promote my blog and social media sites. Search for blog network groups. There are lots out there.
7. Find your writing tribe. I'm a member of Sisters in Crime Central Virginia, Guppies (online), and James River Writers. Members of each are so supportive of writers, and they offer great programs on the craft of writing and book marketing. You're not alone.
8. If public speaking terrifies you, look for a Toastmasters group in your area. I joined years ago, and it helped me FINALLY get comfortable with talking in front of all kinds of groups. The public speaking experience and feedback were invaluable.
9. Talk with your local librarians about co-hosting a program - a writers' panel, a publication discussion, a book reading, or a workshop. My groups partner regularly with local libraries. They get an education event, and we have an opportunity to talk about our books.
10. If your book's main character has a hobby, talk to folks in your area with related shops (e.g. knitting, craft brewing, sewing, crafting, etc.). There might be an opportunity for you to visit and talk with their customers.
11. Create a signup sheet for your newsletter and collect email addresses at all of your events. make sure that guests can sign up on your website too. It's important to have contacts for people who are interested in you and your books.
It does take a lot to muster the courage to cold call or network in a room of strangers. But it is worth it. I've had some really great opportunities because I made a phone call, sent an email, and offered my services. Let me know what other ideas you have to add to the list.