Get your full-color copy
of our eBook:
networkers I know, the ones
of referrals and feeling truly happy
about themselves, continually
put the other person's
needs ahead of their own."
You may groan, thinking I’m an author
– what possible benefits could there be for me in networking?
Or you may already be a fairly stellar networker, in which case, perhaps
you have some thoughts of your own on the subject. Whatever your
feelings on the activity of networking for authors, according to
virtually every marketing expert, face-to-face meetings have the highest
value, in terms of making connections and building your sphere of
influence. Yes, there’s a limit to the number of people you can meet,
but that should not deter you from making the effort. The fact is that
unless you are trained to do it well, you may not (a) see the
value of networking, (b) do it very well, or (c) find it as highly
beneficial as it could be. Here are some tips to
help you correct those issues.
Ways to Make Connections
Are you new to your community and/or looking
for a way to establish yourself as an author and build your platform?
Here are a few tips that might help you get started.
1. Take a class just for the fun of
it. During the natural flow
of conversation with fellow students, you can educate and inform them
about your book(s).
Start a social or business
group. Looking for women
readers? Start a women's group. After the fitness crowd? Start a running
group. You get the idea.
Teach what you love!
Design a continuing-ed class. Look for opportunities at the local
colleges, parks department, senior centers, YMCA/YWCA, libraries, and
Get out there and speak!
Volunteer as a speaker at a group your readers attend. There are
numerous groups in most communities, almost all of which are in constant
need of speakers/presenters and would welcome your expert knowledge.
Network in a bowl.
Buddy up with the owner of a shop that your readers visit frequently and
offer a gift as a drawing for those willing to drop their business card
into a fishbowl.
6. Visit a few networking and/or
women’s groups. These days,
networking is plentiful in most larger cities or communities. Women’s
groups are particularly plentiful.
7. Contact your local chamber of
commerce. Chambers of
commerce are a great way to network and grow your platform.
8. Find a national group for
your topic or industry. While
there may not be a local chapter in your community, a national group can
put you in touch with others in your industry who do live in your area.
9. Check out association lists on the
Web. Many industries have
associations which have newsletters, regular meetings, and their own
specific networking avenues.
These organizations and websites may be helpful in identifying online and
live networking groups to help you build your platform and expand your
sphere of influence. DISCLAIMER: We are members of some of the groups
listed here, have attended meetings through others, and have simply
listed some as potential options for your consideration.
American Business Women's Association
Book Marketing Network
Christian Authors Network
Center for Association Leadership
Irish Network USA
Mark Sheldon's Author Networking Sites
National Association of Women Business Owners
You're having your usual Saturday morning chai tea at an unnamed coffeehouse,
when you notice that
you and the person sitting the next
table are reading
Wall Street Journal story...
You're in line at the bookstore
and you notice that the guy in front
you is buying a book about
the same topic as your book...
in line a the grocery store and
one of the tabloids has a cover article
about a topic you know well. The guy
ahead of you hears you mention
it to your
bank teller sees your business
your deposit slip and asks
you about your book...
are getting your hair
and the stylist
asks you what you do for a
are doing your best to entertain
at your spouse/partner's boss' daughter's wedding, and you strike
up a conversation with the
photographer, who also happens
a master Web designer...
staffing the dunk tank booth
child's school carnival
with two other
intermission during a play, ballet,
cultural event. You notice
a parallel between the storyline and
an experience you describe in your
book. The man sitting in front of you
hears you discussing this with your date...
guy/phone installer comes to your
and has to walk through
office to do their
join a new softball/darts/bowling/
in the waiting room at the
with three other
equally bored people...
the co-chair of the raffle committee
for your civic/religious organization,
and it's your
job to go out into the community to round up gift donations...
on vacation in San Diego
and one of the other guests at your
hotel notices your cool logo
and the name of your publishing
company on your golf
You're on a
long flight and wind up
sitting next to a
chatty old lady ...
who brags to you about her
granddaughter, who is very well
connected in the publishing industry...
What’s Your Networking
by Laura Orsini
Smart authors do
some sort of networking to build their platforms. If you've been at the networking
game for a while, but you're finding that no matter how many events you
attend or people you meet, networking is just not working for you, it’s
might be you. That's right - it might be you. You're probably not attending the wrong
events, meeting people who just don't read
your books, or simply having a run of bad luck. Those things could be a small
part of the problem, but if, generally speaking, networking does not work
for you, it's probably you.
That might be a tough pill to swallow — your
networking probably isn't working because of something you are doing or not doing.
It's OK. First, know you are not alone. For some individuals, meeting people
is easy; others of us would rather have dental surgery than show up at
another event where we stand around with a drink in our hands, looking for
someone who looks the least bit friendly.
Second, understand that you can
learn to be a better networker. But in order to do that, it is imperative that right this minute you get out of the victim mentality that’s been allowing you to believe
(i.e., justify) that it’s all someone else’s fault.
There ARE things you can do to become a better
networker. You have one of two choices: (1) you can master theses skills, or (2) you can stay home and wonder why
lesser authors are selling more books than you are.
the FIVE greatest keys to successful networking?
Be selective about the events you attend. Hitting
every event (also known as being a netwoking whore) is not
necessarily the key to effective networking. Detemine the kinds of
people, business owners, or industries that would likely be your readers
or know your readers, and find out where they meet, mix, and mingle.
Set an intention before every event. Visualize the outcome, and
let it be people-oriented, as opposed to money- or business-oriented.
And if you have a strong hestiation or resitance about the event — that is,
you really don’t want to go — stay home! People can feel your energy!
Set an intention about the kind of networker
you want people to remember you being.
We've all met a few folks who could use a lesson or two in networking
etiquette. These are just a few of the networking styles you don't ever want to
have used to describe you:
Entertainer. This person must be the center of attention at all times.
They never enter a room unnoticed
and when they arrive, they make sure everyone
knows they have arrived. They talk at great length about themselves,
their books, their fascinating hobbies and pursuits, their
globetrotting son, their Ph.D. daughter, their cute little dog, their
powerful speedboat, their fahb-U-lous neighbors,
oh-so-well-run HOA of which they are the president, their
upcoming African safari, their very
important positions on various boards of directors, the
speech they gave in Cannes last week, their
Inquisitor. This guy hammers others at events with rude, impertinent, or
irrelevant questions. No probing is too personal, and he will turn any
affront you may take at his boorishness back around on you. He has a
commanding presence, but is unaware of the subtleties of interpersonal
relationships. If he were is in sales, he'd be King of the Hard Sell.
Want to Make an
as a Connector?
beautiful, inside and out.
in the moment.
Mystery Man. This individual is not quite
sure how to describe his book or his business. He's quiet,
unobtrusive, and you will miss him completely unless you
accidentally trip over him on your way back from the bar. He's super
smart and the nicest guy, but no one ever gets to know how smart or nice
he is because he can't keep anyone interested long enough for them to
learn anything about him. Sherlock Holmes would have a tough time figuring this
Card Dealer. We've all met this gal whose only expertise seems to
be the Business Card Shuffle. She throws her card at every person she meets, whether or
not they are interested — usually before she even asks their name, if
she ever gets around to asking at all. For this person, networking is
just a numbers game. All she's got ot do is get her card out there to
250 new people per week, and then sit back and wait for the book sales
to roll in and the phone to ring. "Damn, why aren't people buying
my book, and why isn't my phone ringing?"
the other hand, there also are people who have such grace and finesse that
we only wish we could be as skilled as they are at
people-meeting. A few networking styles we can all aspire to:
Hostess With the Mostest. This outgoing person knows how to make even
the most wilted wallflower feel welcome and important. She genuinely
cares about people — she makes it a personal mission to see that
everyone who attends an event has a good time — whether or not she's
actually hosting the event. She knows learn how to give a sincere
compliment that will make anyone feel instantly more confident and
Storyteller. This person can engage almost any crowd with their
knowledge, charm, and wit. They always have an interesting story
at the ready that, while entertaining, is never self-aggrandizing or
simply for show. The have learned that telling a story that others can
relate to will get and keep people’s
attention — and prompt them to ask more questions.
UN Ambassador. This person is a diplomatic wonder. They are very
well-connected and they use their seemingly encyclopedic knowledge
about their friends', colleagues' and associates' businesses to
continually introduce people to one another, building bridges between
individuals who might never otherwise meet.
Investigative Reporter. This
individual knows how to dig beneath the surface to get to really know
people. They usually have more personal knowledge about others than
their colleagues (e.g., birthdays, who's sick or just had a new baby,
etc.), not because they're nosy, but because they're genuinely
interested. They understand the truth in the truism that people do
business with those they know, like, and trust. Their secret weapon is
C = celebrate
E = equilibriate, meaning we’re all equal, so treat everyone equally —
regardless of their status.
Acronym courtesy of Adora Spencer, the Celebrity Connector.
You must have the willingness & ability to create
a meaningful connection with others. Anyone who approaches networking simply
as a numbers game (If I pass out and collect 50 cards... If I can
generate a dozen warm leads... If I can schedule five appointments...) is
missing the point. Who attends networking events? People do! With
whom do we do business? We do business with people. If and when you
begin making your connections with people the focus of your networking,
you will begin to see positive returns on your networking investments.
4. CONSISTENCY. Many novice networkers (and an unfortunate number of networking
veterans) attend new networking events or try out new groups, never to
return. Ask them why, and they say trite things like, "I didn't get
any business." "No one talked ot me." "It's a big
clique — they don't welcome strangers." And then they never go back
again, and write that group or event off as another failed attempt.
Networking successes don't happen in a box, and networking doesn't pay
off instantly. Networking is about building relationships — and building
relationships takes time, just like it takes time to grow a garden from
seeds. Sow your networking seeds well, and you will have a
bountiful harvest. The fact is, it's not until you attend any event regularly
enough that you are missed when you’re not there that you actually know
the people well enough for them to want to do business with you.
5. FOLLOW UP. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is likely to come of all your
networking efforts if you don't follow up. Some people are stunning with
their follow-up skills, while others of us shuffle the stacks of
business cards we collect, thinking that someday we'll get to them. The
best idea is to develop a follow-up system. Some sort of
planned response effort that guarantees that you get back to the people
you've met so that you can develop those chance meetings into
relationships. As a rule, e-mail is good. A hand-written note is better.
A phone call is even better still. But absolutely nothing beats an
Few Final Tips
Never assume someone can’t help you,
can't be of use to you, or isn’t worth
your time to get to know. You have no idea who your UPS driver’s other
clients are, who (s)he’s married to, or who his/her neighbors are. Get to
know the people first, so that you can develop a relationship. You'll be
amazed at the results.
networking is not reserved for events that call themselves networking
functions. Successful networking can and does take place ANYWHERE!!
PLEASE FEEL FREE to REPUBLISH THIS ARTICLE, provided
you MAKE NO
CHANGES and attach the following bio:
Laura Orsini is a savvy networker and
book consultant who specializes in helping
self-publishing authors, speakers, and coaches to think like marketers.
Follow her book marketing blog for great tips on becoming a