The Art of Self Promotion through In-Person Networking

It’s only a few days until Christmas and I’m tempted to write about all the great gifts that writers want and need.

Books, books, and more books!  Okay, okay, I admit that’s what I want for Christmas.

And I could talk about all the other gifts that are great for writers, me included.  Take note all of you who are friends of mine.  *hint, hint*  Just to name a few: a writer’s retreat, the content driven organizer tool for writers that I’ve been hearing rave reviews about from my writing friends called Scrivener, a Scratch subscription to learn all about the “business of good writing” as a fellow writer puts it, a coffee gift card (Gotta have coffee!) and there are plenty more.

Instead I’ve a few suggestions on how to network yourself as a writer.   Yep, that’s right you need to market yourself if you want to be noticed in the writing world.

Attend social gatherings and cocktail parties.  Be real while there.  Not braggidocios or arrogant.  Don’t be shy either.  Find a middle road.  Relate with others on topics outside of writing.  That’s not to say you can’t talk about writing.  Just don’t let that be all that you talk about.  Let them see you as the person behind the story, book, screenplay or whatever it is you specialize in writing.

Get out there.  Attend poetry readings, literary events and open mic nights whenever you can.  If people meet you, see you, hear you, then when they see your book in the bookstore, they’ll remember you.  And hopefully buy it.

Host an author reading.  Think local businesses, coffee shops and book stores.  Yes, you can approach the store owner and inquire about it.  They may appreciate the increased traffic flow. Tell friends and family to come support you also, the more traffic in the store the more likely the chance you’ll be invited back.  And give a free copy of your book to the store owner or manager.  They’ll appreciate it, but most importantly they’ll tell others about you and let others read it.  Thus, the networking goes on even after you’ve left the establishment.

Support other writers.  Be there for a word of praise and a round of applause when you’re writing friends read or get an award.  One last thing on this, support others because you never know when you may be hosting a book signing or reading and need to see a few familiar friendly faces in the crowd.  I think every writer’s worst nightmare is no one showing up.  Watch this fun and playful video to really get the picture:

Go to events by authors for whom you admire.  Strike up a conversation.  Treat them as a person not as an idol.  I’ve found that it helps to think they’re just people.  Plus, I’m sure they’d appreciate an upfront and honest conversation with them as a person.

Always carry business cards.  And hand them out frequently.  Use your author business card when giving your phone number to the repairman, the auto service attendant, church acquaintances and many others.  You never know where it may lead.  At the very least, the person may look up your website and tell others about you.  They may even buy a book.

Give out your book as a hostess gift.  Yep.  You heard right.  Okay, maybe not to the editor or publicist who has already seen it a few hundred times or so *I might be exaggerating here*.  Give them something else, but make sure that it gets into the hands of the hostess or organizer of the event you are attending who has not read every word of it while you were writing it.  Not only is it a nice gesture, but it can help to build up your author name.  And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Can you think of any other in-person marketing strategies?  Share your ideas below.


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4 thoughts on “The Art of Self Promotion through In-Person Networking

    • Parnell is delightful Nan. You have to admire his genius in marketing. We laugh with him and can’t help but share this and that results in his book getting promoted, even if people just wonder what it is like after watching the video. But really, Parnell is funny. Perhaps he’s missed his calling.

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