It’s the last blog post for the month of February, and it feels fitting to do a quick recap of what happened this month and what lies ahead before we jump into today’s post.
What happened in Feb:
I released a Valentine’s Day short story spin-off from my YA Romance debut. It was titled WHAT IS VALENTINE’S DAY FOR? and had over 50 downloads!
February 14th was also the one-month anniversary for WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?
I took part in TWO promotions, one on BookSweeps and one on BookFunnel. Both were super fun to experience, and be on the lookout for a blog post about that soon!
I did my first ever live-stream over on Instagram. Doing that live-stream really gave me the bug to do more. If you ever want to watch those, my username is @SarahMaeSutton
I finished copy edits for my upcoming book, OUT OF MY LEAGUE
What’s coming up in March?
Proofreading OUT OF MY LEAGUE, as well as reading a few other projects for other author friends
Get everything organized to upload OUT OF MY LEAGUE to be on preorder
Probably more livestreams (because I’m now obsessed)
I’m doing author newsletter-swaps with some fabulous authors this month, and can’t wait for that
March 14th will be the 2nd-month anniversary of WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR? and I’m currently planning on some fun things for that (any ideas are totally welcome)
I recently asked in my last Instagram live about what kind of topics you guys might be interested in reading about. I do have something fun coming very soon, but instead of our usual post-style, it’s going to be a video. I’ve been playing around with the idea of where to post it—either YouTube or maybe IGTV—so comment below the place you’d most likely watch it at. But on that livestream, someone suggested to talk about Author Networking and any tips or tricks that I may have.
To give a bit of background, the social media platforms I’m most interactive on are Instagram and Twitter. I have a Facebook account (which WILL come into play in a bit) but my posts over there are just Instagram auto-posting to my wall. Which is probably not a smart business move on my part, but that's something I need to be better at--I need to delve into Facebook the way I delved into Twitter and Instagram. One step at a time!
Author networking can be a little daunting, but one thing that I ALWAYS keep in mind is this:
Followers are friends, not numbers
Think of it like “Fish are friends, not food.”
I've seen a lot of people forget this mindset, and it makes networking with other authors a little bit more difficult. To grow genuine connections, you have to be genuine. Think about it. No one's wanting to interact with someone who's fake or never interacts back.
I can't count how many times I comment on something that's been posted by an author that I follow (or an AuthorTuber, in my instances), super excited and ready for a fun conversation, only to get a “like” or a “haha” in reply. Something in me instantly recoils, because I don't feel like a friend, I feel like a number. And you don't ever want anyone to feel that way.
Interacting is key
Comment. Share. Like. All of the above. Let's use Twitter as an example. Each time you see a post and think, “aha, that's funny,” leave a reply! Interact with that post, be excited and joyful with them! That opens the door to future networking opportunities. You have to make friendships first, build the trust there. Commenting, sharing, and liking others' posts really promotes a good relationship, and you learn more about others that way!
Bonus to that...
Commenting, liking, and sharing on other people's posts prompts them to leave comments on yours! Any sort of interaction like that boosts your profile in the algorithm world, which opens more doors of opportunities to find more authors to network with. If someone leaves a comment on your Instagram post, reply to them! Start that conversation. Take that step, because it could lead you to great places.
As you build those friendships and find things in common, it makes it so much easier to ask, “hey, do you want to help me promote my book?” or anything you'd like! But reciprocation is key.
When I was looking for proofreaders for OUT OF MY LEAGUE, I put out the question of whether anyone would like to help me with this endeavor. A few people volunteered, but one friend asked if we could do a swap. I proofread his story and he proofreads mine. It's a mutually beneficial relationship, and that's important! Because, like I said before
Followers are friends, not numbers
Constantly interacting and helping each other out is going to only benefit you in the long run. I'm not saying become BFFs with everyone who comments on your posts because some people are just fishy and trolly (I'm looking at you, Fake Keeanu Reeves), but be open to it. These people are following you because they want to join you on your journey, they want to see you go to places, and they want to be a part of it. Join them on their journey and be a part of theirs!
Now I don't normally talk about Facebook groups, because as I said earlier I'm not big on Facebook. However, it can be a great place to find like-minded authors who are willing to help each other grow. But be picky on these groups. I'm not in many, and only the ones where the atmosphere feels wholesome and supportive. There are two that I highly recommend if you write YA Romance
These groups are only Romance, but I'm sure there are other groups like this in your genre if you do a little digging! What I love about these groups is that they promote newsletter swaps, which is when you share someone else's book on your newsletter and they share yours on theirs. It's mutually beneficial, you reach more readers, and that's a friendship you've just made! You've opened that door and took that leap.
How I made my Author Connections
I don't really want to call it “author connections” but more want to say author friends. How did I make those friends? Through constant interaction. Through learning what they're working on, what they enjoy doing, whether they're a plotter or a pantser, what genre they write. Showing them that I value what they're doing, that I'm joined with them on their journey, and totally excited for what's to come. Doing those Instagram lives really helps for real-time interaction, but even attending them is amazing too. I just keep commenting, liking, sharing, and friendships just grew from there.
Get a few author friends together and create challenges within your group, like post challenges or WIP challenges. Could be so fun!
Just take a chance. Keep at it. Engage. It'll be so worth it!
My YA Romance, WHAT ARE FRIENDS FOR?, is out NOW! It's available on both ebook and paperback.
Young is still in the air! The YA Romance promo I'm a part of is still running, and you can find a collection of other YA Romance books here!