5 Author Networking Tips – And Why You Should!

by Barb Drozdowich

I hear this type of comment frequently from my clients: “I have great content on my blog, but no one reads my posts!” As Canadian Blogger John Chow says, “… many authors think blogging is like the movie, Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come. You can build it, but if nobody knows about your blog, they’re not coming!”

Creating a beautiful blog, crafting great posts, then sitting back and waiting for readers to find your site is comparable to a child standing alone on a busy playground, arms akimbo, claiming no one will play with them. Most parents chuckle at that picture. But isn’t that what we do when we wait for readers to find us?

What’s the Solution? Network!

So how do you draw them in? How does a blogger attract reader traffic? One simple answer is ‘networking.’ Most adults are great networkers in real life. They may work in a corporate environment and communicate with contacts on a regular basis. The conversation among this group may be by email, phone, even chatting over drinks at a yearly conference.

But networking isn’t just a corporate thing. In fact, my 13-year-old is learning the basics of networking in her school’s Leadership class. And if you stand outside a school and listen to parents waiting to pick up kids, you’ll hear conversations about who is doing what for the next class party, where to get good prices on craft supplies, or advice from someone with a needed skill.

So, if we can network in real life, why do we struggle with the necessity of online networking? Although a properly set up and optimized blog will eventually be found, authors can speed the process and gain more traffic by working with others. Here are five ways authors can network a blog:

1. Publish great, properly optimized content

To attract an audience, you need to provide them with something to read. That seems obvious, but I recently had a discussion with an author about the lack of traffic to his blog, which only had 3 posts. No one will visit if there’s nothing to see!

So before you network, publish a reasonable body of work. Then, when you reach out to potential readers, they have a reason to visit and stay. If your blog is set up properly, this body of work will be found and indexed by Google as it is created. If someone performs a Google search for the topic of one of your posts, your blog can be found by that searcher. If that reader enjoys that post, they will hopefully go on to read more, and may even be compelled to subscribe so they receive new posts from you in their inbox each time you publish. But that won’t happen if you don’t have quality content.

2. Register your blog on database sites

You can register your blog on many database sites, which is the equivalent of introducing yourself to strangers. For instance, create a free account on BlogLovin.com, use its built in mechanism to connect your blog’s feed, then associate your content with various categories so people looking for blogs to read can find and follow it.

Bloglovin is more than just a database site, however. It is also a feed reader, similar to Feedly. Account holders can choose blogs to follow and actually read their posts on Bloglovin’s site. They can also receive email notifications and get a daily digest email with the latest content from blogs they’ve expressed interest in. Because email notifications are sent daily, you don’t have to rely on followers to remember to visit your site or BlogLovin to check for new posts. Note: This site will also help you with another point below: finding blogs to read, comment on, and follow.

I established The Book Blogger List in 2013 to serve as a comprehensive place for authors to find bloggers who will review and or feature their books. At the time, there wasn’t an up-to-date website that could be searched by genre and that’s what I set out to create. The Book Blogger List database gets 600 – 800 unique hits daily, more on weekends and holidays. I have a massive mailing list of people who want to be notified as new bloggers are added. Blogs that are listed on this site get noticed! So, if you review books or feature authors on your blog, fill out the form and get your site included.

3. Find other blogs in your niche and comment

Seeking out bloggers in your niche and leaving comments on their posts is a traditional, hands-on (and therefore time-consuming) method – but it works. Successful bloggers who started several years ago will tell you that visiting and commenting is a great way to be noticed. And, like any large project, it is best done in smaller bites. Set up a spreadsheet in Google Docs or on your computer and list 5 active blogs that you have found in your niche. There are thousands on BlogLovin.

Visit each one, read a recent post, then leave an appropriate, thoughtful, sincere comment. Do thank each blogger for sharing, and indicate that you are a new fan. Don’t be pushy. Don’t give unsolicited advice. Don’t self-promote. Aside from logging in to the commenting system, don’t leave links to your blog unless invited to. Indicate the date on your spreadsheet and move on. A few days later, repeat the process with five new, active blogs. After doing this for a few weeks, begin at the top of your list and re-visit.

Bloggers are a curious bunch – after you have visited and commented several times, your own blog will likely be visited in turn. If you have quality information to share, that visit should be a positive experience and will perhaps gain you a subscriber.

4. Seek influencers in your niche and offer help

Authors, if you don’t know the big players are in your niche, go to Amazon, research the bestsellers in your genre, and find out which ones blog. Then, offer to feature their books on your blog via a post that requires no input from them. Sharing thoughts about other authors’ books with your (however small) audience helps you develop more content. And if your thoughts are particularly positive, they may choose to link to your review from their site, which is a great potential audience builder and good for your SEO.

Or, why not send a note of thanks to an influencer? Let them know that you enjoyed their book, that you enjoy listening to their podcast, that you referred people to their course, etc. Doing something sincerely nice with a no-strings-attached attitude can get you noticed and appreciated!

5. Reach out to other authors

Although you can’t expect influencers – the power players in your niche – to give you much time, it is possible to collaborate with authors in a similar position to you. For instance, you can form a like-minded group for book and blog cross-promotions. Search for active, positive, motivated peers who write in a similar genre. As you all build your platforms, you can help ‘cross-pollinate’ audiences by swapping guest posts, etc.

As a reader, I appreciate discovering other authors who write books I might be interested in. Whether I find out about other authors through reading about them on blogs or being told about a group promotion, a new book/author is a good thing in my world! I know of several similar groups of authors who joined forces at the beginning of their career, and are still together and stronger because of their networking.

There is not one silver bullet networking method, but I hope these ideas have stirred your creative juices, I hope you explore them, and, as a result, discover other ways to collaborate with others. Happy networking!

Authors, what challenges and/or successes have you experienced on your networking journey? Leave a comment and share!

About Barb

I’ve written eleven books that focus on helping authors, and every subscriber to my mailing list gets two free – one about social media and the other to help you find book reviewers. I also post about the technical issues that authors struggle with on my business blog, and create YouTube videos that walk my audience through challenging issues. I currently have 36 videos available, with more on their way. Thanks for letting me share!

 

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36 Responses to 5 Author Networking Tips – And Why You Should!

  1. Barb January 23, 2017 at 11:29 am #

    Happy Monday! Thanks for letting me share! Happy to chat about blogging, or books, or maybe coffee…..

    • Molly Greene January 23, 2017 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog, Barb – always a pleasure to have you!

  2. Jennifer Jennings January 23, 2017 at 2:29 pm #

    Great suggestions! Thanks!

    • Molly Greene January 23, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

      Our pleasure!

    • Barb January 23, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

      Thanks Jennifer!

  3. Kim Wenzler January 23, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    Molly, your blog always offers wonderful assistance and advice and this post is no different. Barb provides some insightful information (which I need and will use).

    Thank you both!

    • Barb January 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

      HI Kim!
      Thanks for stopping by! And thanks for the kind comments! I always enjoy what Molly shares and it’s an honor to add my 2 cents.

    • Molly Greene January 23, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

      You go, girl!

  4. Anne R. Allen January 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    Great advice. Networking is how we make it happen in today’s publishing industry. Blogging is a social network. People need to remember that involves, um, being social. 🙂 Thanks Barb and Molly!

    • Barb January 23, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      Afternoon Anne!
      Very true! I think that we often forget the social part! Sometimes just a nudge is needed, however and people figure out what they need to do.

      Barb

    • Molly Greene January 23, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

      Thanks so much Anne!

  5. A.S. Akkalon January 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    Thanks for the great info, Barb! I’ve stumbled across BlogLovin.com before, but I never knew what it was. I’m going to have to check it out.

    • BarbD_11-15-16 January 23, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

      Hi A.S.
      I Love BlogLovin! So many blogs there – lots of variety…and I get lots of traffic to my various blogs also. Great starting point for networking

      Barb

  6. Garry Rodgers January 23, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

    This is excellent info, Barb. It’s current, realistic and bang-on practical information for helping blog success. So is your book “Blog it!”, Molly.

    I’ve successfully blogged for four years now and still say “Blog it!” was the game changer for me. Once I realized blogging is a game of give far before take, I committed to producing content on a continual basis and began networking with other niche genre authors, bloggers, and a few notable influencers. It took a while but then slowly paid back in “social currency”.

    My experience is that delayed gratification comes if you’re genuine in posts and sincerely help others whether that be sharing great tips, publishing practical information, or promoting people and their products. I also reached a tipping point in traffic once I grasped effective SEO techniques and could be found through searches. (I gotta try the database sites.)

    So a bit of encouragement for other bloggers who are howling in the wind – networking is a key component in building blog traffic and networking can take a lot of creative faces. Also, networking has a funny way of being reciprocal once you commit to regular posts and mingling with others. I now have people approaching me as an “influencer” – four years ago I never dreamed that would happen.

    Believe in yourself. Write good stuff. Keep at it. And don’t be shy to network by leaving comments on influencers’ blog posts 😉

    • Barb January 23, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

      Garry,
      Spot on. I think too many authors are given bad advice. Those of us who started back a few years ago understand and do exactly what you are talking about. The chatting, the making friends, the social currency. It all matters in the long run. Thanks for dropping by and chatting 🙂

      Barb

    • Molly Greene January 23, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

      MWAH! Thanks so much Garry … and well said: “Believe in yourself. Write good stuff. Keep at it. And don’t be shy to network by leaving comments on influencers’ blog posts.”

  7. Deek Rhew January 23, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    This is fantastic! As an author who has to balance working, marketing, and occasionally writing–basically the same boat as most authors, it’s hard to know where to focus our limited time. Though I’ve hosted a lot of great authors and been hosted on blogs before, I had no idea that something like BlogLovin even existed.

    The thing I love about the author/blogging world is how incredibly supportive everyone is of everyone else. This is just another example.

    Thanks for the great tip!

    • Molly Greene January 24, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      Thanks so much Deek – and you’re right, we authors have a lot on our plates but the author community tends to lighten the load. Good luck!

    • Barb January 24, 2017 at 9:20 am #

      Hi Deek!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! You are correct – we juggle a lot of balls and anything to make networking easier is good I feel! Give BlogLovin and other services like it a try and see what you find. I’ve found a ton of great book lovers to network with and books to read 🙂

      Barb

  8. Henrietta Watson January 23, 2017 at 9:57 pm #

    A very informative post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Barb January 24, 2017 at 9:21 am #

      You are welcome Henrietta!

  9. Elizabeth Ducie January 24, 2017 at 12:22 am #

    Thanks, Barb, for a great piece with some simple but not necessarily obvious advice. I stumbled on BlogLovin! recently and have spent ages trying to unsubscribe from the daily emails. Now I can see the value of it, I will look differently at it and start using it.

    And thanks, as always to Molly for bringing us yet another great post.

    • Barb January 24, 2017 at 6:14 am #

      Morning Elizabeth,
      Thanks for your comment! As I said in the post, I think most of us can network in real life, but struggle to make the transition to networking on the internet. I really appreciate all the functionality of BlogLovin – I love the blogs that I find to read, I love the traffic it has brought to my blog, and I’m really happy with the reading environment! And if memory serves, there is a setting page that you can eliminate the notifications if you want – or you can use them to network 🙂

      Barb

  10. Brian Abela January 24, 2017 at 11:50 am #

    HI Molly, what a great post. Thanks for sharing. Hey Barb thanks for the pointers I will definitely utilize the points mentioned. Being a children’s author I find it even more challenging to get my book out as the readers in the age range I am targeting don’t normally have access to an Internet connection or a PayPal account to purchase the book. 🙂 So I have to really work hard at getting through to the parents. I have had some highlights since starting but I believe there is a good deal more potential and a whole lot of children out there who I would like to help encourage and develop healthy reading habits at a young age so that they can then become avid readers when they become adults, thus helping out my fellow authors who write books targeting an older age range. Barb, I also subscribed to your website as well. Looking forward to enjoying posts from both you and Molly! It’s nearly 9 pm here in Malta as I write this reply so I will wish everyone reading this post either a good evening or good afternoon….or perhaps good morning. 🙂

    • Barb January 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

      HI Brian,
      You are very correct – Children’s authors and YA authors have a tough row to hoe. Although you may already be looking at this audience – Mommy bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. Many of them have huge audiences and support their families with their blogs!

      Good luck!

  11. Maureen Grenier January 24, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

    Thanks, Molly and Barb. I appreciate all the good information and the reminders of what I should be doing.

    • BarbD_11-15-16 January 25, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

      Hi Maureen,
      Thanks so much for the kind words 🙂

      Barb

    • Molly Greene January 26, 2017 at 10:21 am #

      As do I, Maureen – thanks so much!

  12. Joe Campolo Jr. January 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm #

    Good stuff, as always from Molly’s Newsletter.

    • BarbD_11-15-16 January 25, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

      Hi Joe,
      Thanks so much!

    • Molly Greene January 26, 2017 at 10:19 am #

      Thanks so much, Joe 🙂

  13. Karen January 31, 2017 at 8:23 am #

    A great help. Thanks!

  14. Mariah February 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Molly and Barb, thanks for another useful post! I am in the early stages of planning a website and blog to support my writing, and have a few ideas for initial posts. I noticed that Barb mentioned it was a good idea to have a reasonable body of work before starting to network, and just wondered what you would consider a “reasonable body”? (I’m already having palpitations about starting a blog and people stopping by and saying “is that it?!”)

    • Molly Greene February 2, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

      That’s a Barb question, really … but I think that when I began back in 2011, I started sharing on Twitter when I had about a dozen posts. Good luck to you!

    • Barb February 2, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Mariah,
      I agree with Molly. I’d say have between 6 and 10 posts on your blog before you start trying to network. That way when people come to visit, there is something to see. People will scroll thorough looking at posts to see if you resonate with them.It will also give you the chance to get your feet under you – to start feeling comfortable in your role. Have fun!

  15. Mariah February 2, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    Thanks Both, looks like I have some work to do! So much to learn, so little time …!