Guest Post on writer networking by the uber-talented John Cabrera
Sooner or later, every self-publishing author will reach a ceiling promoting his/her book: You are not able to bring in new leads for more sales.
Or maybe you keep introducing your book to the same audience over and over again while trying to write your next one.
No matter the details, the result is the same. You just don’t seem to be able to sell more copies of your book.
What do you do now?
Don’t panic, this is not the end. You just need to join forces or network with other self-publishing authors to leverage each other’s efforts. And the best thing is that you don’t need to be a famous author or have a huge following to do this.
Basically, other authors are NOT competitors.
But this isn’t just saying “hey, want to promote each other’s books?” There’s more to it…especially if you want it to be successful.
Luckily, I’ll take you through each step involved in developing a successful writer network and help you to see good results on your bottom line by combining forces, emails and reach with other self-publishers and help everyone’s book sales grow.
In this article, you learn:
- How to reach out to other self-publishers for partnership
- Tapping into other self-publishers’ online footprint
- References of their books – icing on the cake
- Managing and scaling up your “Partnership Campaigns”
The idea behind this is that we want to find the right authors to network with, get on their radar, build a relationship and then develop a good mutually beneficial partnership that helps us both grow.
Why Develop an Author Network?
Building a good self-publishing partnership or writer network can do the following:
- Increase your website traffic significantly
- Add highly targeted leads to your email list
- Give a boost to your book sales
You both have readers. You both have email subscriptions (most likely). You both have something to offer their readers while that author is writing their next book. So why not for a writer network and help build each other up.
You can keep your email list warm by providing good, sound recommendations for other books in your genre as well.
So, the benefits of creating an author book network is immense.
How to find the best self-publishers to Network with
Okay – now that you know why you want to partner with high-quality self-publishing authors, you need to figure out who you’re going to reach out to. To do this, you need to ensure the following three things:
- Does the author’s website get traffic
- Does the author collect emails
- Does their website get engagements
1. Get a List of Author Websites in Your Genre
But before we do that, we need to see who out there is in our genre. This is where Google comes into play. Start be doing searches in Google for phrases that are in your niche.
Say you’re an author of teenager and young adult novels within the genre of fantasy literature:
Head over to Google.com, and start searching your heart out until you find self-publishing author in the niche and write them down.
Here’s what you might search for:
Your search will come up with many blog posts; look at the post and if the blog is dedicated to the same niche as yours then write it down and move on to the next one.
Advanced Tip: If the blog is about that particle niche, pay attention to the writers for the blog. Sometimes that blog will allow people to guest post – this is a sure sign of an active author who is working to build leads and traffic – always a good sign!
It doesn’t mean you will send partnership requests to all of them, after all, you’ll still need to vet each website and ensure it will be a beneficial partnership which we’ll start to cover in Step 2.
Also, if you’re having trouble finding authors through google searches, you can access some of the best social networking sites for writers like following:
2. Check to See if the Website Gets Visitors
Granted, just because an author’s website doesn’t get traffic doesn’t mean they won’t be a good fit. However, the simple step below will give you some kind of indication of whether or not the author gets people to signup for their email list and actually has some kind of popularity. You could just trust their ‘word’ that they do, but I like the numbers as well 😉
Now take each website that you wrote down and run it through https://www.similarweb.com to make sure the website gets enough monthly visitors to make your efforts worthwhile.
If the website has more than 15K monthly visitors then keep it on the list.
Advanced Tip: If you want to learn how to use Similiar Web and understand its numbers better, check out Dave’s video here. Here you can learn all sorts of things about their website: visitor demographic, what is bringing the visitors to the website, and a whole lot more.
3. Are they Collecting Email?
Now you need to see if the website is collecting emails from visitors by using popup windows or lead magnets. Basically, these are the popup windows you get when you visit some websites offering you something free for the exchange of your email.
Why is this important? This is important because if they are collecting emails from their visitors it means they have a good size email list of highly targeted leads.
If the website has both high monthly traffic and a good lead magnets, then keep it on the list.
4. My favorite – Engagement
Traffic isn’t everything. Sometimes the best indication of having a following the right kind of fans is the engagement. You can check the engagement levels in 2 different ways:
Social Shares: Some websites will have social buttons like FB likes, Tweets, etc. Most of these will show you how many times people used it. So, check the numbers on these social share buttons and if there is a lot, then you know their readers like their writing and respond – which means they would take that authors advice or recommendation.
Comments: Comments at the bottom of an article is a perfect sign of whether or not a website has community and life. If people comment, then you know they have real readers and real engagement. Again, another sign that they have the right kind of readers that would take their advice…like pick up your book.
Now Let’s Get Their Attention!
Now that you have a vetted list of potential self-publishing partners, you need to contact them. Simply go to their websites and click on the contact link, which is usually located on the right upper corner or at the bottom footer of the home page.
Now, all that’s left to do is determine whether or not you can offer them something of value.
Because the KEY to getting a partnership request accepted is offering the self-publishing authors something that will benefit them. Therefore look through that author’s site, and their current posts and investigate what their books are all about. Familiarize yourself with their top selling books.
If you feel your audience share the same interests then go ahead and send the partnership request. Below is a template you can use as a sample partnership request:
Hope you’re having a good week!
I am an author and self-publisher located in Orlando, FL. I am the author of a young adult adventure novel titled “[YOUR BOOK TITLE]” and after looking at your website and books I believe we share the same type of audience.
To this end, I would like to know if you are interested in doing some cross marketing with me. In a nutshell, I can introduce your book to my audience and you can introduce my book to yours.
I believe we both could benefit from the effort, plus our readers benefit from the variety.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.
123 Main St
Couple of important points:
- Refer to the author by their first name, don’t start with a general “Hi There”.
- Always tell them where you are physically located in the world. It gives a sense of context and realism.
- State the benefits to them first. It is all about them, not you.
- Include your address and phone number at the bottom. There are too many spammers out there, they need to know you are real and that they can pick up the phone and call you if they need to.
But What If I have Nothing to Offer them?
Ah…but you do. Having a large website or big email list can always help, but there are other things that budding new authors can do now to get the attention of other self-publishers in their industry.
The key is to alway start your partnership request by offering value to the author, don’t mention what you want in return until the end.
Below are some of the things you could offer:
- Offer to put an image of their book on your website with a link to their sales page. Mention your monthly website traffic if it is moderate to high.
- Offer to email your audience or followers about their book with a link to their sales page. Mention the size of your email list if you think this would help.
- Offer to write a guest post for their blog. Every website owner knows that content is king. Content is time-consuming to produce all by yourself – Dave knows and thanks for letting me Guest Post 😉
- If you see they have made a course or are holding an event, let them know you’ll promote it.
- Use your twitter account and promote them, ensuring you tag them so that they see the engagement
- Write a review of their book and send them the link on both Amazon and Goodreads
- Just ask if there is anything you can help them with
Estimate the benefits you could bring to them in quantifiable metrics and how soon you can do that for them.
They Said YES! Now What?
Well, the best Author networking is done when you actually work to build a professional relationship. So, you got your foot in the door with another, now start to work with them.
You can setup to talk with them about their work, their next projects, etc. Learn about them and grow as a newly created network before you make the ask.
Then once you are good and sound with the other, then move to the next step.
TAPPING INTO OTHER SELF-PUBLISHERS’ ONLINE FOOTPRINT
Now that you have a decent relationship with the other authors, its time that you place a request that they assist you – although hopefully they should have done this without the ask.
However, you don’t just need to ask for the email (although that is important). You can also ask for the following:
|Ask partner to post an ad on her/his Facebook page advertising your book. You pay for the cost of the ad.|
|GOOGLE+||Ask partner to post an ad on her/his Google+ page advertising your book. You pay for the cost of the ad.|
|BLOG/WEBSITE||Ask partner to place a banner ad for your book for a week.|
|Ask partner to post an ad on her/his Twitter page advertising your book. You pay for the cost of the ad. Also ask partner to tweet about your book.|
|Ask partner to post an image of your book cover and link it to your lead magnet or sales page.|
|Ask partner to post an ad on her/his LinkedIn page advertising your book. You pay for the cost of the ad.|
Start with the ones listed here and then do the same for other online properties on your next campaign. Don’t forget to reciprocate the favor.
REFERENCES ON THEIR BOOKS
Once you have been collaborating with your partner for a few months you can ask your partner to add a reference of your book in her/his book like at the end. And in return, you’ll do the same thing.
You only want to do this with very selective partners and only after you have read their book as well.
If your request is rejected don’t get upset, just continue collaborating with your partner of the other initiatives.
MANAGING AND SCALING UP YOUR “PARTNERSHIP CAMPAIGNS”
It is important to manage your partnership campaigns like any other campaign. Unfortunately, there isn’t any software to manage these type of campaigns yet. However, you can still manage your partnership campaigns:
- Create a spreadsheet
- Measure and track the following metrics
- Number of requests sent
- Percentage accepted/rejected
- Number of leads generated from each partnership
- Number of sales generated from each partnership
- Hours spent per partnership reciprocating favors
- Keep your partner list updated.
To scale this effort all you need to do is add more partners to your list.
More Resources to Help You Along the Way
The Ultimate Guide to Networking With Bloggers: Learn about how to communicate with author website owners and things to remember as you move to build that relationship.
7 Networking Tips for Cowards: From one of Dave’s favorite writers, Carol Tice, learn about ways that even the most introverted author can break that boundary and get out there and network like a pro.
About the Author: John Cabrera
John Cabrera is freelance writer, web content writer, editor, blogger, content strategist, and ghostwriter. He is the co-founder of Freelance Writer Opportunities, a blog dedicated to writers’ financial growth. Want to know how to create passive income from your exiting writing? Download the free digital guide Create Passive Income From Your Writing.