One of the best long-term strategies for an author, other than building an email list, is to build relationships with other authors in your niche or genre.
With this, you can promote each other’s works, do joint email blasts, help each other in your writing craft, and keep up to date with the latest on your genre or niche.
However, building such relationships rarely happens by accident. But at the same time, you can’t force it.
So, how do authors in the digital age get noticed? How do they build meaningful relationships with other authors without coming across as fake? Well, that’s exactly what I will show you.
And just a heads up, some of the links in this article are affiliate links.
In this article, you will learn:
- How to find the right kind of authors to look for
- How to connect with other authors
- Strategies to build a meaningful relationship in the digital age
- How to support each other moving forward
- I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing authors over the years…here’s just a few.
WARNING: Don’t Do This if…
I only recommend that you read and apply this guidance IF you truly are looking to build meaningful relationships. If you're just hoping this is some ‘tactic’ that will help you to sell more books, then please, do NOT read on and follow these steps. Choose something else.
However, if you’re ready to build meaningful relationships, and learn how to align this with your author business, then let’s roll up our sleeves and get to it.
How to Find the Right Authors to Ally With
In order to do this right, you need to understand who is the ‘right’ kind of author to ally with — and how to find them. Once we have these two steps we can discuss the methods to use in the digital age to get noticed and provide legitimate value, which will help you build a meaningful relationship.
What to Consider in Other Authors
You probably already know of some authors in your genre or niche who would be great to network with and have as friends. But before you jump into rubbing elbows with those who you think would fit, here are some things to consider:
Level of fame: This isn’t to say you can’t target someone who is super famous. Just understand that the level of work you’ll need to put in to get through the crowd and be able to build a meaningful relationship with someone like that is extremely hard.
Their level of influence or reach: I don’t want to sound superficial, but if everyone you end up building a relationship with doesn’t have any following (social or email or reader), then you’ll both be in the trenches.
General Personality: Let's face it, you’re building a friendship here. If you’re checking out their social media posts and you know you won’t see eye-to-eye, it might be a good idea to drop that one.
My Recommendation: I hate to give these numbers or directed values, but it may help an author to better understand how many people (and who) they should target – because our time is limited. So, please take this recommendation with that understanding. But, I’d recommend that an author should try to target one very well known author (not super famous like Stephen King), 3-5 authors who represent where they want to be, and 5 or more authors just like them. I know that sounds like a lot, but believe me, when you get started doing the tactics below, you’ll have a lot to choose from, and the more friendships you build, the easier it all will be.
Where to Find the Right Authors
Okay, now that we have an understanding of things to consider before choosing authors to ally with, let’s look at some places or ideas on how to find them.
Local Author Groups: Most places have a local authors group or writing group. In order to discover these groups, here are a bunch of ways to do that:
- Google “your city” + “writing group”
- Look into writers associations that have city-wide chapters like Romance Writers of America or Mystery Writers of America
- Use Meetup.com, which is a free online service that connects local people with similar interests. You can start your own if you don’t see one and even set it up to be virtual (thanks 2020). This is my personal favorite.
Online Critique Groups: There are many online programs out there that are set up as an exchange where you must critique someone else’s work to have your own critiqued. Many are free although some are paid. But through this, you can work with other authors, help build up each other’s work, and, in the process, potentially make some great relationships. Here are a couple of services out there:
Social Media Writer’s Groups: There are many different writer’s groups on all the different platforms. I can’t list them all here, but here are articles that list some of the best writers groups on different social media platforms:
- List of LinkedIn Writer Groups
- List of Facebook Writer Groups or here
- Goodreads page for writer groups
- Twitter Lists for Writers
Attend Conferences: There is no better way to actually get to know other authors in your genre than to hang out at conferences. However, instead of just going to listen to the amazing speakers and learn new things, also go there for the point of socializing and finding other like-minded authors. Having met and had a drink or coffee together is a big start to building a relationship in today’s digital world. Here are some recommendations to get more out of conferences:
- Go to genre-specific sessions or after-hours and make it a point to talk to the other authors in the room.
- Get business cards of other authors, and make sure to email them immediately upon getting home.
- Offer to buy them a coffee or drink at the bar – no better way to get me to chat it up than to offer a free drink. 😉
Okay, so now that we know who we should target and how to find them, let’s discuss how to get noticed and start building relationships.
How to Get Noticed and Build a Relationship
The hardest part for most authors is figuring out how to get noticed and start building a relationship without coming across as ‘trying’ or ‘gaming’ it. And while trying to game the system or put checks in the boxes is wrong and not something we want to do, there are some approaches that will give you the ability to be noticed. That said, your ability to be genuine and authentic will be the deciding factor when it comes to how helpful the relationship is.Here are some strategies to help you get noticed by famous authors. But you have to be genuine and authentic to build a real relationship.Click To Tweet
To help you get noticed and have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships, here is a list of things you should absolutely consider:
- Signup for their email list and reply: Not only should you signup for their email list so as to know what they’re up to, but you should also reply to those emails. I can tell you first-hand, there are a couple of people on my mailing list who, at an appropriate level, respond to my email blasts with positive and appropriate messages. Here’s the kicker: I know exactly who those people are because they consistently reply. I’ll also tell you that if those people ever needed my help, they would get more because of it. Why? Because of their replies, they get noticed. So, signup for author emails and makes sure to reply when you think best. Keep it up, and authors will definitely notice you over time.
- Follow them on social media and reply: Just list the above, you should not only follow them, but retweet some of their good stuff, and comment on their posts or pictures. It’s just another way to show you’re a legitimate fan and follower. Again, there are certain followers who I know because of this. So, be an ‘active’ follower and you’ll improve your chances of getting noticed.
- Send them a ‘useful’ gift: I’m not saying we are going to ‘buy’ our friends. But sending someone a gift that is useful is a SURE FIRE way to get noticed. So, what do I mean by useful? Well, make it something you know they’d like. In the past, I’ve gotten people’s bookmarks or their books — even though I am not interested in that genre or studying that subject. Although these are nice, they are not useful. One thing I do is when an author friend of mine publishes a book, I send them a bottle of “Writer’s Tears” Irish whiskey as a congrats. I even have a stack of them on my shelf:
- Okay, so I’m a bit of a Star Wars nerd
In the bottom left corner of that photo, you can see that a business I helped consult for sent me three baseballs with an imprint of a picture of my late father, myself, and my son at a Red Sox game. My dad passed away in February. That was absolutely touching and one of those baseballs you can see behind me in all my latest YouTube videos.
I also once had someone send me three Audible credits as a thank you after helping them with a self-publishing problem – and I SURE do love Audible credits. The point is, taking that action to provide something they’d like will definitely give pause or notice.
So, to recap, don’t send your book or author paraphernalia. Instead, think of something they’d like and send it over as a way of thanks or a way of congratulations on their latest book or accomplishment.
- Join their ARC Team or Beta Team: Any author would LOVE to get more people on their Advanced Review Copy (ARC) team or launch team. This is pretty much an assured group of true fans who are willing to read the book, give suggestions, leave reviews, purchase upon launch, and help promote. That’s a lot of great value. So, contact authors and ask how you can help with their next launch. They’ll appreciate that.
- Let them know you left a review: Like #4 above, what author doesn’t love to hear that their fans took the time to leave a great review? Just take a couple of seconds and let them know you left a review and a quick bit about what you said.
BIG HUGE POINT: Notice that everything above is about providing continuous legitimate value to other authors. It’s not about asking for things or showing them your book. It’s about helping. So, if you can think of anything else that provides value to them, do it — without asking for anything in return. Do this, and they surely will notice you.Other authors are not competitors - but can be alliesClick To Tweet
What To Do Next?
The above steps were designed to help you find and got noticed by other authors in your genre or subject. However, these do not build friendships or meaningful relationships. That part will come down to you, and what feels right. Like any good relationship, it takes time and effort.
Furthermore, the level of ask you can make is also dependent on the amount of goodwill you’ve generated, how much help you’ve provided, and the level of closeness you have with the author.
But, in case you have any of those things, and you feel like you can make a legitimate ask, here are some things you can consider asking your author network for:
- An Editorial Review: As I’ve covered, editorial reviews are extremely powerful for your book’s sales page and conversions. But what’s great about this one is, by asking for an editorial review, you’re showing this author you think they are an authority.
- Critiques of your work: If you think a fellow author is a great writer and does an excellent job in your genre, you should want their thoughts on your craft. Ask them what they think and if there are things you can improve on.
- An Amazon review (if they’ve read your book): If they liked what you did, ask if they can leave an Amazon review. It’s pretty simple at that point and always beneficial.
- An email exchange: This is where they send out an email to their subscriber list about your latest book or a book that has a special sales deal (like Kindle Countdown) and in return, you’ll do the same. This is only something I’d recommend doing if you really have a great relationship with them, or you have a large email list or one that is comparable to the size of theirs.
Many of these are industry norms but only do those you feel comfortable with.
Get Started Now
When is the best time to plant a tree? 25 years ago. When is the second-best time? Now. Just like trees, getting started as soon as you can on building meaningful relationships is very important.
So, use the tactics above to locate other great authors and start getting noticed. With time and effort, you’ll have meaningful relationships that will build into stronger and larger relationships. When this occurs, not only will your book sales improve, but your connection to the craft and the genre will flourish as well.