Some people are unaware I grew up on a farm. I took part in crop planting and harvesting when I wasn’t feeding and watering animals. I translate lessons from farming to authoring because there is a lot in common, like seasons. You plan and prepare, plant the seeds, grow the product, harvest and when it’s ready, you share with the world.
So, which was I talking about, farming or writing? By understanding the similarities, it helps me show how to make author network connections with five easy elements.
Networking is when you interact with individuals to exchange information and grow professional or social contacts.
As I worked on the farm, I learned that you succeeded when you were connected to the people with whom you worked. These included other farmers and their families, farm agencies, institutions that supported our work, and the consumers who used our product. I needed to understand how they all fit together as I do with author networking.
As a child, my grandfather designated one acre of land for the grandchildren (five of us) to work a crop of his choosing. I prepared, planted, and harvested the likes of sweet potatoes, white potatoes, green beans, and corn. But the summer we planted cucumbers provided the best lessons in networking.
Let’s go straight to the harvesting. The five of us, under my grandfather’s supervision, checked the cucumbers every day for growth until it was time to pick them. While it’s a one or two-day job, it’s longer when your help is between the ages of 6 and 10.
We accompanied Grandpa Byrd to the market with the bushels of cucumbers. Once the warehouse workers dumped them onto the conveyor belt, the sorting process amazed me. Baskets sat at the end of the machinery to collect the different sizes. My cousins and I ran to the baskets so we could watch how our crop sized up, literally.
I recollect that we got more cash for small cucumbers and less for the large ones. We were lucky in that a well-known pickle company nearby bought our product. For a week, I watched Grandpa take the cash for the day, give each one of us a dollar and pocket the rest. My ten-year-old self had to ask him, “Why do we only get a dollar?”
Grandpa was a shrewd businessman. He could account for every penny in cucumber costs and profit. The next day, he made it his task to introduce me to every person who helped us through the entire crop’s season. His voice echoes in my mind now.
“Choose your company and choose with whom you do business. Take care of the people who helped you get there. Be kind in words and deeds and watch kindness return to you in business. Attract what you want around you and connect with it.”
These ideas stand today as I network in the author world.
The social media world is the best place to make author network connections. Before you head out, prepare. Make lists, four to be exact. You’ll see how they reflect you and provide a natural way to move around people. Lists allow you to create your template and your plan for specific connecting.
Your lists include:
This material will provide a path to help you navigate through social media as you circulate to discover connections relevant to you.
When you arrive at your different social media platforms, plan to engage with information from your four lists. Think of it as one Big Networking Cocktail Party: Mingle.
For me, Dr. J., the author, I created a strategy around who I wanted to meet. I did it from my lists.
List One: I checked out the folks who had professional expertise like myself and also my writing genre comparables, and I followed them.
List Three: Of interest to me, is sex-positive education. I follow educators, researchers, podcasters, and coaches. Doing so keeps me up on current information. Meet “your” folks, find out what you like, what they like, follow and converse.
List Four: One thing that makes me interesting is I’m eclectic. I talk about travel, soccer, pugs, coffee, knitting, and my new purple bicycle. These are everyday things that can connect me to readers and other writers as well.
Converse. Chat and go to chats (Twitter is quite helpful here). Use hashtags related to the content of interest. My favorite way to connect is to ask concrete, direct questions. Be polite. Please and thank you go a long way. Go after what you want. No one will do that for you. Be fearless. If you ask, you might get what you want. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it. That is the primary way I have moved quickly to creating network connections.
If you are in this writing business for the long haul, pace yourself. If you are beginning the process, take a step a day. Pick one of your list areas and survey it across your social media networks. Slowly but surely you will meet people and establish your specialty network.
Also, remember that readers are in that network, like those pickle lovers at the grocery store, they are your consumers. They want to know you, so share yourself with them.
Allow people to experience you and your personality. Can you tell I embraced what Grandpa Byrd did for me? I would never have guessed a lesson of my ten-year-old self would wind up in a blog about author network connections, but hey it’s real, and it’s me. And Grandpa Byrd would have loved it.
When you are who you are, it’s easy to do your work every day.
It’s your turn. How do you put this all together?
Take those five elements, and do your research, then step on out there. With supportive folks in the writing community, you will create a specific path tailored to make your author network connections.
And remember, I’m in all these places, too. Alert me when you arrive because I’d love to walk with you along your journey.
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While I spent my professional life in the field of sexuality, creating stories to share is a new realm for me. I plan to explore many dimensions of sexuality through erotic writing. The great frontier between our ears holds the treasures and capabilities to expand sexual desire, sexual arousal, and sexual potentials. I strive to focus on imagination and creativity at the intersection of sexuality and the mind.
My aim in writing is to explore what excites. I filter my words through my belief that a sex-positive presentation, even in erotic writing, can support sexually healthy adult development. I want my writing to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of the spectrum of human sexuality. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed writing.
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Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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