I’ve a confession to make: I am an introvert.
Surprise, surprise, right? I tend to agree with CB Blake that a lot of authors (I’m not going to say most, but very likely) tend to be introverts. The fact that we can lose ourselves in our own worlds, carry on book-long conversations with our characters, and avoid contact with any real humans is a huge part of being a writer.
And yet, despite my natural introversion, I LOVE author conventions (and book/comic conventions).
Why Conventions Rock
There are two amazing things about conventions:
- They’re the perfect way to get your books in front of readers. Readers come to book, comic, and author conventions looking to find awesome new books/series to read. If you can force yourself to be outgoing, you have a great chance to interact with readers and make new fans in person. (To be honest, the interaction with readers is my favorite part of the conventions!)
(I won’t get into the whole “in person selling” side of things. For this post, I’m focusing on the networking aspect.)
- They’re a good opportunity for networking. Networking is VITAL for authors. Whether you find people to co-author a book with, start up a podcast/blog, share content, trade reviews, or just talk shop, conventions are an excellent place to make new friends and acquaintances among fellow professionals. As you can see by Heidi’s post on Authors Need to Network, it’s one of the most important parts of attending conventions.
The Secret to Convention Success: Find Where Your Interests Intersect
The problem with networking is that it’s hard. It’s hard to go up to a random stranger and say, “Hey, how can I use you to expand my reach and find new readers?”
I sure hope you’re NOT doing that!
If you want to use author conventions to network, you have to find “common ground”. Specifically, areas where your interests and theirs align. How can you do that?
– ??????????????????Offer to read/review. Every author wants more book reviews! If you find fellow authors who have books that interest you, offer to read and review it for them???no obligations. Most are happy to share an e-book copy, and some will even insist on giving you a paperback, especially if you offer to post a picture of you with the book to your social media networks. If you love to read and can find books that pique your interest, you can make friends for life by offering to review the books.
– ??????????????????Invite them to come on your blog/podcast/reader group. A guest post, guest appearance on your podcast, or an author takeover in your Facebook reader group can be a great way to connect with authors. You’re offering them something of value, expecting nothing in return. If they have something of value they can offer you, they’ll be more inclined to do so out of gratitude.
– ??????????????????Share a picture with them to social media. Who doesn’t love pictures? They’re a great way to engage with readers and fans, and they can help you connect with fellow authors as well. Take a picture with your new author buddy, and post it to your social media???along with links so your followers can find out more about your friend.
– ??????????????????Talk shop. Writers love to talk craft, characters, story construction, marketing tricks, and everything else that goes into the author profession. Few people outside our author circles “get it”, so it’s always nice to find others we can talk with who do. A simple conversation can lead to some fascinating opportunities???it’s all about right place, right time, right person.
Did you notice a common trend here? That’s right, in every instance YOU are offering someone else something of value.
This is the real secret to networking: providing value to others, not asking for anything. You build your network with fellow authors by getting them interested in your unique brand, which has nothing to do with your books and everything to do with who YOU are as a person.
Networking is as easy as going over and talking to people, being friendly, lending a listening ear, and offering to help THEM along their author journey. It’s so simple, but it will immediately make them more inclined to offer YOU what help they can.
Got any questions on simple, easy ways to offer value to new authors you meet at conventions? Drop your questions in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer with a few ideas to try???
About the Author
Andy Peloquin, despite LOVING hiding in the comfort of his office to write, is a friendly, sometimes-outgoing guy whose massive smile hides a mind that produces dark, twisted fantasy stories.
To learn more about his books, pop on over and join his mailing list: http://andypeloquin.com/join-the-club/