As in any industry and culture, there are ‘codes’ you have to follow to be accepted and be successful. The writing industry is no different. Everyone follows these codes or rules. Everyone swears by them. Everyone is deceived. Everyone gets hurt by them.
The vast majority of ‘codes’ authors follow are just the result of the writing crowd pushing everyone along with them. At one time they might have been successful in the early years of self-published authors on the internet. So many things were new that almost anything worked. Now with the number of authors out there multiplying by astronomical means almost daily, what might have been successful once is now dead or dying. Through this time many myths have developed on how authors should network. They have become rules that lead authors down a very deceptive path.
I’ve listed 10 of those myths here that many today will swear work for them. Maybe they do, or maybe they are just deceiving themselves. In fact, believing these myths could be your downfall and actually hurt your marketing and networking endeavors.
Post About Your Book Multiple Times Every Day
Every day I watch as authors post time and time again about their books. Many of them swear they have high sales due to that one act of marketing. The problem with doing this is that it is a huge network killer. Talk about a turn off!
Remember what networking is. It is not marketing though it is tied in with marketing and crucial to the success of marketing strategies. Networking is getting to know other people and establishing connections that could benefit you and your business goals.
Now the question becomes — How can you get to know someone if all you are doing is pushing your book in their face? You can’t. Then it isn’t networking. The key to networking is not talking about your business much if at all. That subject will bring itself into the picture, and when it does will have a much stronger and long-lasting effect.
So, how often should you post about your book? That’s the million dollar question up there with how often to post on your blog and what to price your book. There is no definite answer. It is easier to say when you shouldn’t. Don’t post every hour even if you are sharing a different book each time. I’ve done that and found too many people blocked me, unfriended/unfollowed me, or just ignored me. Don’t post it every day and that be your only post. That is cold and unapproachable. You don’t want to be viewed like that.
You also don’t want to go without posting about your books for weeks on end. Compromise these drastic ends of the spectrum. Post no more than once a day and no less than once every two or three days. The rest of the time interact and get to know people. Talk about other things that help you connect with people.
Join as Many Groups/Communities as You Can
The key to networking is mingling with others in the industry and with readers. That means getting involved. On Facebook, you join various groups. On Google Plus, it is communities. On LinkedIn, it is Groups. The idea is to congregate with others and exchange information. The myth has been to join as many groups as you could. That can easily backfire and cause you more harm than good.
First of all, you spread yourself way too thin by doing this. Remember what networking is? How can you get to know someone if you are having to interact with so many people at one time? You can’t. The only thing that can happen is appearing to be insincere. That will destroy all your networking and marketing attempts.
Join a few groups at first, maybe two or three. Get to know the members in those groups before you start branching out to find others. Trust me, the relationships you build there are worth millions. And you might find some valuable friendships.
Talk About Your Book As Often as You Can
How else will people know about your book, right? Yes and no. You need to be able and willing to talk about your book, but…..
Don’t talk about that and nothing else.
Really, do you like to be around that woman who talks about her cats and absolutely nothing else? How about the man that tells you about all his surgeries each time? People don’t want to hear about your book constantly either.
What you talk about depends on where you and the makeup of the group. If you are in an authors group, ask the opinion of the others on a marketing strategy or if they are for or against the Oxford comma. Comment on their posts. You’d be surprised how many instances appear where you can talk about your book.
When a discussion is about how to create a suspenseful scene, say, “In my book, I used colors to help the reader see and feel the suspense.” You didn’t shove your book out there. You offered a suggestion through your own experience and showed that you had used it in your book. Don’t be surprised that someone asks you what the title of the book was. Let the promotion of your book occur naturally. It will have a greater impact.
All Authors Think the Same
Networking involves mingling with many people. Most people tend to think everyone else will respond to situations in the same way they would. Nope! Sorry to disappoint you. That’s not the case. We are all individuals which means you’ll get a wide array of responses to anything.
When you begin to network, remind yourself that you don’t know these people. That means you have no idea what their reaction to certain phrases or topics will be. They are not all like you. Start off by reading posts and comments. You’ll quickly get a feel for people. Then give safe comments on posts. Respect others and their differences.
Also, don’t assume. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people get upset with me only because they made an assumption and made an ass of themselves while at the same time causing me a world of headache and drama.
Okay, this myth is only partially true. You should always be yourself, but temper yourself when you network or expand yourself. It all depends on who you are.
Are you an extreme extrovert? You might need to tone it down a bit with others. It can come off as rude and obnoxious. Don’t tell people how wrong they are. Don’t correct them. Also, watch your language. You might be one who lets four letter words roll off your tongue every day and people close to you know you and don’t mind. In networking, that doesn’t fly.
Are you an extreme introvert? You’ll need to come out of your shell and be a little more assertive and open with people. Being shy when you are virtual networking is a sure sign you’re going to fail. You need to be able to interact with people and appear to be relaxed and confident even if you don’t feel like it.
Like Every Page You Can
It has been recommended to go around and like every page you can. By doing so you are establishing a wide network. That’s false! You’re just cluttering your page.
Like a page because you like it. Others who check out what you have liked or follow see that as an endorsement. If you go around liking every page, then I might follow that trail to a company or group that is not quite legit. Then I’ll question your integrity. Pick your likes carefully, but do like pages. Show your support of something or someone you like. It helps them out, and that’s a good thing.
Expecting to Get Your Back Scratched
If you like someone page, they should like yours back, right? NO! Yes, it is nice when someone reciprocates, but expecting them to is something entirely different.
I cannot tell you how many times I get a message on my Facebook account where someone says, “I have liked your page. Please like mine at xxxx.” What? No! I will not like your page because that is not why I want you liking mine. I want you to like it because you like it and will participate on it.
What you end up with is a lot of people liking your page but doing nothing with it. Now a premise behind this act is that you need so many likes before the social networking sites will promote you or give you certain benefits. You can still accomplish this without prostituting yourself. There are people who will like your page, really like your page. Go to them.
Friend As Many People As You Can
Another myth propagated for authors is that you need to friend as many people as you can. That can really backfire.
There is a limit to the number of followers or friends you can have. Get there, and you are dead in the water. So friending as many as you can will put you in a corner with no way out.
Then you have the fact that most of them will block you from their newsfeed as they really have no interest in what you post. So, why have them as a friend? Be consciousness of who you friend and follow. Make the network connection real. Make them valuable to both you and them.
Say Yes to Every Event and Invite
You get all these invites to events and such because you have connected with these people. You say yes to them all to show your support. But you don’t go? Then why say yes? That’s not showing support. That’s being rude.
The ones organizing the event see that 20 people are going to show up. If they all did what you did, then the party is a bust. Instead of supporting the person, you just let them down big time. That looks worse on you than declining to go. Put yourself in the other person’s shoe and how you would feel.
Remember that you don’t have to go to every event. Show your support by inviting others, sharing the event, or just sending an encouraging word.
Too often everyone jumps on the bandwagon of doing what everyone else does. That can be good to gather ideas and suggestions on how you can proceed, but doing so also gets you lost in the crowd. So tweeting every day about the book might have worked when tweeting first began, but now instead of a handful of authors doing it, thousands are doing it. So how do I find yours in all that?
It’s good to see what worked for others, but don’t just follow blindly. Experiment. Tweak. Find a way to follow the heart of the suggestion while at the same time standing out in the ground and being someone a reader will look twice at.