◎ Six Networking Tips for Authors (Online Version)

February 06, 2013

1. Return follows and comments

If someone leaves a comment on your blog, you have four options.

  • Read the comment and do nothing;
  • Reply to the comment on your own blog;
  • Reply to the comment on the individual's blog;
  • Reply to the comment on your blog and leave a unique comment on the individual's blog.

If you go with the first option, your online presence will go down the toilet. By not returning their comments, you will leave your readers feeling neglected and unappreciated. The second option is better than nothing but is an undeniable hassle for your reader, especially for first-time commenters. (Do you really expect them to go out of their way to periodically check YOUR BLOG for replies? Ha!) The third and fourth options, however, offer a level of reciprocity that could potentially forge a lasting relationship.

So how do you find the link to the commenter's blog? Click on their name or look them up with Google. This person took time out of their day to leave you a comment, so try to return the favor. Also, be sure to follow their blog and most definitely return the favor for anyone who has already followed you. (I'm bad about the whole following back thing!)

• Leave a thoughtful, non-copy/paste response. I can't tell you how many comments I received on my now-defunct fashion blog that said great blog follow me? xxx or cool post please check out my blog and follow kisses from milan.

2. Host Giveaways

People love free stuff. Use that fact to your advantage. With Rafflecopter, you can specify what hoops people need to jump through in order to gain entries in your giveaway. For example, you can set "following via GFC" as three entries, "liking my Facebook page" as one entry, and "purchasing my book" as five entries. (The latter example assumes you're giving away a gift card or non-book prize.) You will also want to list your giveaway with popular giveaway directories so that even more people can get in on it. Here are a few to start with.

Readers Win Book Giveaway Directory
Books | Blog Giveaway Directory
Blog Giveaway Events Directory - Simply Stacie

(Giveaways are a great way to meet fellow authors as well. I met David Estes through a 200-ebook  giveaway of his debut novel Angel Evolution!)

3. Do Favors/Promote

Wish people would like your fan pages and buy your books? Well, go out of your way to do those things for your fellow authors. They'll undoubtedly be happy to return the favor.

Also, be sure to plug your readers. Mention them on your blog, give props to their latest book, RT their successes, and support them in all of the ways you'd like them to support you. (My fashion blogger friend Lauren does this all the time and I appreciate it like crazy!) Us unknown authors are all in this together, which brings me to my fourth point...

4. Be There

Build relationships with your readers and fellow writers. We're a lonely bunch who need support groups full of like-minded individuals to keep us motivated, so band together! If someone's down, send them an email. Have a video chat. Critique each other's work. Hell, mail these people cards once in a while! A great example of this kind of "being there" is the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook. The most active posters there are super enthusiastic and caring and everyone supports one another freely and wittily. Don't be afraid to give more than you get at this point in the game!

5. Post Shareable Content

I discussed this with Phil Schipper over on his blog a week or so ago. The sad truth is that as fun as it is to write posts about yourself, doing so will not increase your readership. What will increase your readership are informative posts. Informative posts should communicate useful/valuable knowledge with viral sharing potential. This very post is an informative post because I am providing advice that is applicable to all authors with a blog and/or an online following. At this point in my career, no one is going to share a post about my personal updates, but they just might share one of my posts about networking tips or advice for young writers!

Writing informative posts will eat up a lot of your time. The bright side is that once they're written, you'll have a piece of content that will drive traffic to your site for years to come!

6. Reach Out

Reach out to new readers and authors as often as possible! Start by scouring the internet for blog lists/"linkies". Blog lists are a great way to expand your readership in a relatively short amount of time (see here). These lists essentially call for a follow-swap (each person follows everyone else on the list), but you can just as easily gain new readers from a list you are not a part of with my aforementioned tips. To follow a blog via Blogger, click the gray "ADD" button under your reader list and paste in a URL.

Although these steps take a good deal of time, they are absolutely essential if you have any hopes of building a platform.

Based on your experiences and observations, what would you add to this list?


  1. You absolutely nailed it with all of these! Even authors that think they're doing the best they can (like me) might only be doing one or two of these things at the very most. I think I'll hang onto this information for my own reference, in fact.

    All that being completely separate from the fact that you mentioned me in the post. Thanks for doing that, by the way!

  2. I really like this! It's full of great ideas presented with energy and heart.

    Thanks for these tips!!

  3. These are great tips, Kat. Tomorrow, I will make an informative blog post. :)

  4. I can't thank you enough for all the tips and tricks you've provided me with over the past year! Thanks so much Kat! :3

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  7. interesting site, will definitely visit again

  8. Hello Kat Mellon,

    I've chosen the comprehensive combination of options from #1. Good article - your feelings are shared!

  9. This is a great list. Marketing is a beast, but it's fun. I love sharing the love on Twitter and like every blogger out there, getting a new comment on a post rocks. I always comment back, but I haven't been going to their blog and commenting there. And why not? Thanks for the tips. New GFC follower here. This is me, http://robgirlbooks.blogspot.com/


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