I’ve befriended many bestselling authors, online and in person, who want to help new writers. They’ve advised me, allowed me to guest post on their blogs, and have written blurbs for my work. They pay it forward. Someday you will too.
You are an author (or will be!) and it’s important to surround yourself with your author community. You are a member of the party now. And every party needs people to make it successful! ?
Act respectful, professional, and positive in your reaching out to other authors and they will reciprocate. These people can be your biggest influencers when it comes to industry advice and connections with agents, editors, and publishers.
First — how to FIND Comparable Authors
Start with authors you are familiar with in your genre and connect online and in-person.
Conduct research to find other successful authors in your genre and connect with them online.
Are you a debut author? Connect with other debut authors. Search online for “debut authors” and the year your book releases, plus “your genre,” to locate comparable debuts. On Goodreads, search in Lists for debut books by year and genre to match yours.
Go to the Amazon page of a similar author in your genre. Click on their books and scroll down the page to see books readers also bought like theirs. Hop on over to those book pages and check out those authors to see if a good fit for you to connect with as well.
Second — How to CONNECT with Comparable Authors
Add new author connections to a special private Twitter list called “Comparable Authors” and connect with them there on a regular basis and give them a shout out.
Engage on their Facebook author pages with useful, positive comments. Share their posts to your audience.
Comment on their blog posts with a useful remark or refer to something that you connected with in their post. This is a helpful tactic to draw the author and their followers into a conversation there, and they may connect back to your website and follow you online.
Connect via a conference, book event, or convention. In connecting with authors online, check out their events page to see what events they may be attending in person. Are any local to you or ones you have an interest in attending? Be sure to connect in person at the event. Share why you love their books or follow their blog. Ask them a question that shows you’re interested in their work or ask for their best bit of advice for new authors on how to build a reader audience. Email them or post on social media after the event, letting them know you enjoyed meeting them and thank them for their time.
Ask the authors you engage with to guest blog on your blog. Authors love to be interviewed and provide guest posts, if they have time. It’s exposure for them and you – and content for your website!
Ask if YOU can guest blog on their blog and pitch an article idea that fits their audience (most folks love content for their blog!). I’ve had authors on group blogs ask me to fill in their monthly date spot if they are too busy.
Join a group of debut authors. Start your own group if none! A book marketing collective is a strong way to help boost other authors and your own books. There is power in numbers. Banding with similar authors is a wonderful way to reach potential new readers while building a writer community as a resource
Be Sure to Avoid This Rookie Mistake:
Spamming an author’s Facebook wall and tagging them with your book or other promotion.
Go the Extra Mile:
Reach out to co-author blogs in your genre and ask if they are accepting new members as well as guest posts.
Banding with similar authors is a wonderful way to reach potential new readers while building a writer community as a resource.
Have you banded with other authors to build your influencer network? What worked for you? What are you willing to try that you haven’t done yet?
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Donna Galanti is the author of the bestselling paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. She is represented by Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and regularly presents as a guest author at schools. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.
Donna has long been a leader in the Mid-Atlantic writing scene as a workshop presenter and is a writing contest judge at nycmidnight.com. Donna also loves teaching writers about building author brand and platform through her free training series at yourawesomeauthorlife.com.
Thanks so much for having me back on today! I love talking about building community. We can write alone but we can't get published alone. 🙂
Excellent post, Donna - THANK YOU! I especially love this: We can write alone but we can’t get published alone. That is so true.
Yes, Jenny -that is so my mantra! 🙂 Feel free to use it too!
I've only met one author who wasn't friendly and welcoming...and I found out later, she's an introvert at a hermit level. SO many hands reached back to help me when I began (looking to you in heaven, Char Lobb), I owe so many, I'm proud to give back.
Don't be afraid to approach authors you admire (in a non-stalking way) - it's a start to building community. RWA National conference every year is like old home week for me, because I reached out!
Thanks for blogging with us, Donna!
Charlotte Lobb! I think about her all the time. Loved that lady. p.s. Are you going to RWA National this year?
Oh hell yes!
I can honestly say that every fan-girl letter I've written to an author has been answered with not only thanks for my interest in their books but awesome advice to my writing questions. I'm not published, but hope one day I can pay it forward and touch a new writers heart like so many authors have touched mine. Such a giving community and I feel blessed to know a few of them personally.
I love this! I'm so glad they were warm and welcoming to you. 🙂
Hi M. Lee, I have had similar experiences! I remember I was so nervous to go to my first writing conference with "real" authors and discovered there is such a camaraderie among writers and we truly want to elevate each other. Glad you had this experience!
Hi Donna, great post,
So, my genre is crime fiction, and Ive been building like-minded author connections on FB for the last year or so since graduating. I have lots of author engagement there.
Been slowly building my writing bio too...got a few short stories picked up in April, (even 'pimped and promoted' them here on the recent WIS post, though no ones commented yet...). And I've got more stories out on submission now, for anthologies and contests, waiting to hear back.
Got recruited to do and just finished my first blog tour post, and ive also guest blogged a bit, just finished another last night. But, no pay for either of those endeavors though. And my own blog is lagging, in that I post, but have few readers.
And all this 'busy-work' connecting and writing for free for others is keeping my own novel in progress at just that.... And without a full novel out there yet, I think 'm going about all this the wrong way...
Also not a big twitter fan...I'm on it but rarely. Is this a big problem?
Welcome to the black hole of author promo, Lisa! 😉
Hi Laura...not sure what that means, but it sounds bad! Got any suggestions?
Sorry, didn't mean to be discouraging, Lisa. I love social media. It soothes my extrovert soul. But does the two hours a day I put in pay off? What's the ROI? I was a CFO my trade, and I want to know! But there is no way to know. I know how many followers I have...I even know that they love my posts. But does that convert into buying my books?
That's what I meant. You can spend a ton of time on getting your name out there, and it might not convert to sales. It makes me crazy not to know!
Am I really doing that bad??
I'd luv some direction, if so.
Lisa, here is what I know: when you find your tribe, you will KNOW it. For some people, that is Twitter chats, for others it is Facebook groups. I know others who do no social media but they connect via live meetups or via their newsletters and email. Have you tried something like Cruising Writers that is small but intensive?
I recommend doing one or two things well - don't spend a ton of time on it, especially if you aren't feeling like you are getting much in return. But if you are steady in doing the networking things you love, eventually that will pay off. It might take a year or two, but keep looking for your tribe so that you can have fun while you spend your time networking.
Hey thanks Jenny! And you've confirmed what I thought, about finding your tribe. i geuss that means I have found them already, just on facebook!
I really am plugged into the crime fiction community there, especially with my recent short story momentum in April...(check my post in your 'pimp and promote' post, and you'll see what I mean...)
But it's a relief to hear that twittter's not really necessary...just feels like a lot of pressure to be on there too, when what i need to do is stick with what's working, like you say!
I will take your advice. FB is working, and I'll do more blog tours and geust blogging too.
I know I don't have a full novel out yet, but I'd actually luv to do a guest post here, if you guys are interested! I finished up my MFA in 2016, at CSULB, and have been doggedly pursuing the game since. And this site is one of my faves!
I'm available, if you want me!
Either way, cheers! And thanks a million for your feedback!
I'm glad to hear you found your tribe on Facebook. And see that? You just took Donna's advice and asked for the guest post. Go, you!!
Lisa, sorry to jump on so late but Jenny gave you great direction! I think it's key to test the waters and see what works and yes, find your tribe and focus on that. Then you can work an intimate circle with bigger results - and all help each other.
I meet with a group of women writers weekly and we write alongside each other but have also elevated each other and have seen success along the way because of it. I also found much success in working in genre-based writing organizations like International Thriller Writers and especially volunteering! Here is a blog post I wrote about how do do this: https://kristinastanley.com/2017/06/20/guest-post-donna-galanti-on-7-reasons-to-join-genre-based-writing-orgs/
I also have a free guide too about connecting with readers before your book comes out you can access here. https://www.createyourawesomecommunity.com/
One way I found is HUGE is connecting with book bloggers now that read what you write - they can be your biggest champions later to review your book. They actually followed me as I wrote in a different genre too! Follow their blogs, engage with them, etc. Here is a post I wrote on other ways to build your author life to create a successful foundation before publication: https://writershelpingwriters.net/2017/01/build-your-author-life-before-your-book-release/
OR watch a video presentation here. https://selfpublishingadvice.org/successful-author-platform-donna-galanti/
And my archive of writing articles on craft and marketing.
I hope this gives you some more insight to help you create your own path! Also aligning yourself with similar authors is key - and connecting on co-author blogs is a perfect way! Go for that guest post 🙂 . We all have our own unique path experience to share!
So much great info!
Thanks a million!
Wonderful! And forgot to include the link to my Writers Corner with articles above. Here it is 🙂 http://www.elementtrilogy.com/writers-corner/
Lisa, I think you should also check out Intl Thriller Writers as an org. to join and network with! They do crime fiction too 🙂 http://thrillerwriters.org/ I volunteered and did social media for a year and have been a contributing editor to the Big Thrill magazine for a few years now and met so many authors that way!
Thanks for all this great info Donna! Just checking out thrillers now!
Awesome Lisa! They have such a great mentor program with this organization!
Thanks for the great tips, Donna. 🙂 Sharing...
Thanks so much Bette! Glad this was useful for you 🙂
I cannot even imagine this journey without fellow authors being so gracious to me. I've learned so much from others. I particularly like the advantage of conventions and conferences for that face-to-face time. Thanks for the tips, Donna!
Right? As much as Facebook and the rest are fun, the REAL fun is in getting to hug and laugh and work with people in a real-life setting. IRL is where the magic happens.
Julie, I so have to agree! I never would have been published or had success if not for the dozens of peers I've been so lucky to know. It's also great when that social media connection transfers into a real-person connection such as at a conference - like you mention!
Meeting new people can be daunting at conferences and conventions I know but we are all looking to connect with new people there, so all in the same boat. It can help to go to a buffet or sit down with people you don't know and say "Hi, I'm Donna is this your first time here?" and "What do you write?" Two easy ways to get started with other writers 🙂
And actually speaking of public speaking, I did a post on how new authors can prepare with confidence - as this can be a great way to dive into new opportunities as an author (often paid!). http://writerunboxed.com/2017/10/28/prepare-to-present-with-confidence/
Excellent advice! Thank you. Most of the authors I've met have been lovely people and willing to help. Critique groups have been especially wonderful. The input has made a positive difference in my writing and urges me forward. I feel guilty not having anything to share weekly. 🙂
Ellen! Lovely to see you here. My thought on critique groups - it's okay not to share every week as long as you give great feedback to others and advance your work in some way, even if it's just some brainstorming about a knotty plot issue.
Ellen, I agree too! Finding the right critique group is so key. These writers can support you on your journey. I found that finding the right fit means writing in the same genre/age range, knowing how to critique well (saying what they liked and offering helpful tips on how to improve some areas), and being objective. They can really help keep you accountable for writing. When I was stuck in my writing once, a good friend and I (Kathryn Craft - an awesome contributor here with her Turning Whine Into Gold series) started sending each other writing prompts each day. So we wrote a page or two each day back and forth to each other. It was a great way to keep the creativity flowing when stuck!
Lots of food for thought. "Join a group of debut authors. Start your own group if none!" hmmm... Thank You!
Mtsuki, hope that gets you thinking there! 🙂 Goodreads is a great place to find debut authors to band together with. Search online first to see if a group already formed in your genre/age-range for the year your book debuts - and then definitely look to create your own. It's a powerhouse book marketing collective! You can cross promote for bigger exposure.
Great advice, Donna. I've found your links via Facebook of great use, and those links have connected me to some other great writers like you.
Roland, so glad to help you out! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Thanks for sharing these tips with us, Donna. Amazing that with all our social media, we still need help with how to make genuine connections with people.
Fae, I think it's wonderful that we are at least still striving to make these genuine connections! We do need to build a support team to help us on our publishing journey. We really are all in this together. If a reader loves another author's book like yours - then they may like yours. That's so great about building a readership - it's not a competition. Book lovers always want more books 🙂
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In the Acknowledgements section of my debut novel, Another Ocean to Cross, I gave a shout-out to all the other authors on social media and in person, whose comments helped me along my way. Often, the other author has no idea how helpful her or his comments have been. Now published, I'm happy to share my ideas with others. I have focused on finding FB groups that fit. Even today, I found three new groups to do with Historical Fiction (my genre) and joined them. My goal is to share and receive good ideas, but also to get the word out about my book.
A number of my writer friends I met first on social media, second in person. That's been such a thrill! Turning other authors into true friends has been one of the biggest gifts I've received as a writer.
great advice--I've done that and have had wonderful results. hope to do it again when I'm republished.
Denise, it's wonderful you've had success and can now gear up for your next book!
Thank you for the great and practical "to do" list. I am finishing a linked story collection and having a heck of a time finding kindred spirit short story writers. Any ideas on how to connect with this very specific group of writers who seem to be a tad on the scarce or shy side.
Hi Jagrout, glad to help! I would try finding short story writing groups online and in person. Why not search in MeetUp in your area?: https://www.meetup.com/topics/short-story-writing/?_cookie-check=GXBwNH51CHulExJe
This is also a great list of writing groups by state/region. If one near you, you could inquire if they have a pocket of short fiction writers. http://writersrelief.com/writing-groups-for-writers/
[…] Book marketing encompasses many things, including branding and networking. Brian Jud erects the 4 pillars of successful book marketing, Charli Mills explores how to strategically build a brand experience, and Donna Galanti has 11 ways to find and connect with other authors in your genre. […]
Late to the party but yeah, great post. While I've connected with a lot of writers on social media, for whatever reason, they seem to be in every genre except my own, (crime). The upside is diverse perspectives and great insight into genres I would've never found on my own. Thanks again for the tips.