How to Network Effectively (Even If You Hate Networking): Start Close to Home

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Today’s guest post is by author Deanna Cabinian (@DeannaCabinian).


If you’re anything like me, a small part of you (or let’s be real, a large part) hates networking situations with a passion, especially forced networking situations. There is nothing I dread more than a “networking night” that results in 200 people standing around a room talking to the same two people for the duration. One of the reasons I love writing is because it’s solitary by nature; ultimately it’s just you and the keyboard and your ideas manifesting themselves on the page. But if you want to actually sell books and have people read them, you have to meet other people and tell them about it. Since my debut novel, One Night, was released a month ago, I’ve discovered what the best networking strategies are for people who hate networking.

1. Let family and friends know about your book, in whatever way you see fit.

One NightIn my case, I sent all my friends and family members an email. I asked them to sign up for my email list if they were interested in getting further updates from me. One of my uncles, who is very cerebral and who I assumed would have zero interest in my YA novel, bought the book and read it. A few weeks later he cc’d me on an email that he sent to 25 of his closest friends. In the message he told everyone how much he enjoyed the book, wrote a thoughtful, multi-paragraph review, and encouraged them to buy it. It just goes to show you never know who is going to be your biggest advocate.

2. Tell your colleagues about the book.

But don’t shout it out during a company-wide meeting. Tell your boss in your weekly one-on-one. Send the people you aren’t as well-acquainted with a polite email. Tell them you published a book and provide a link for them to read more about it. From my experience this leads to a spike in sales and unexpected connections.

When I told one colleague about my book he connected me with one of his best friends—who happens to be the executive editor of a major review publication and a published author. Meeting up with my colleague’s friend didn’t get a me a review, but it did get me other leads to bookstores and professional organizations I can promote myself to. Plus, he’s become a mentor of sorts who is happy to answer my publishing-related questions and give me career advice.

3. Go to as many writing or literary events as possible without any expectations for what might happen.

Of course, if someone asks about your book mention it, but don’t go into it with the idea of “I must make a sale.” I went to an Indie Author Day event at my local library recently and didn’t find it particularly useful since I’d already published my book and had done research for a year leading up to publication. As I was leaving the event another attendee asked, “Did you get anything out of that?” I told him no, not really. His next comment was, “You know what is useful…” and proceeded to tell me about a local writing group I’d never heard of that hosts guest speakers and workshops on a regular basis.

4. If a reader takes the time to contact you, thank them and ask how they heard about the book.

I have found this to be a good way of gauging the effectiveness of my marketing efforts. What’s working and what isn’t? Was this money and time well spent? Nothing is better than direct feedback from readers. And when your next book comes out, they’ll remember you as the author who took the time to email them back. Hopefully they’ll buy your new book without having to think about it.

How have you gotten past your dislike or fear of networking events? Let us know in the comments.

Author Deanna Cabinian (@DeannaCabinian) writes: "One of the reasons I love writing is because it’s solitary by nature. But if you want to actually sell books and have people read them, you have to meet other people and tell them about it. Since my debut novel, One Night, was released a month ago, I’ve discovered what the best networking strategies are for people who hate networking."

Posted in Guest Post, Marketing & Promotion and tagged , , , , .

Deanna Cabinian

Deanna Cabinian is the author of One Night and One Love. When she isn’t working or writing she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and their Havanese dog, Cuba. Connect with her online at www.deannacabinian.com.

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8 Comments on "How to Network Effectively (Even If You Hate Networking): Start Close to Home"

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[…] How to Network Effectively (Even If You Hate Networking) (Jane Friedman) If you’re anything like me, a small part of you (or let’s be real, a large part) hates networking situations with a passion, especially forced networking situations. There is nothing I dread more than a “networking night” that results in 200 people standing around a room talking to the same two people for the duration. […]

Cyndie Katz

Hi! This was very helpful! Thanks! I’m just making the decision on whether to self-publish. But I really read the article because I was a regular this summer at Harlow’s and this photo totally caught my attention.

Valerie Stasik

The photo in this blog looks like Peterborough, NH. Is it? I guess it caught my eye because my son and his family live there. My daughter-in-law writes children’s books. By the way, your advice makes great sense. My sister went all over her small town to promote my debut novel. I’m now at work on a YA novel and editing my grandmother’s family history of her homesteader grandparents.

Jane Friedman

I know it’s New Hampshire, but don’t know the specific town. (It’s a public domain photo.)

Tanya Brockett, MBA
Thanks for sharing this, Deanna. My clients often ask how to spread the word about their books, so your post will be helpful to share. I’d like to offer three other ideas: 1. As a test, take the opposite approach to number three and go to events with the intention of meeting one person with whom you can share your book. Sometimes having the intention helps you to keep chatting until you meet that one. This is especially helpful when you are in introvert. 2. Wear a name tag (such as that from http://www.AuthorNameTag.com) that has your name and your… Read more »