When I give presentations to writers I joke that the difference between being aggressive and obnoxious is that the aggressive writer has a good manuscript and the obnoxious one has a bad manuscript. For over a decade that’s always gotten a good laugh.
The only problem was, I wasn’t following my own advice.
I’ve grown much more assertive in the past year. One of the largest mistakes I made coming out of Special Forces and going into traditional publishing was trusting that other people would do their jobs without having to look over their shoulders. This cost me. I have to remember Special Forces are the elite. I could trust my life to the men on my A-Team to do their jobs to the utmost of their capabilities and I did. The rest of the world is somewhat different. Yesterday I flew into Laguardia and went up to White Plains for the NINC Conference and then too the Metro North train into the city for the Self Pub Expo. I talked with reps from Amazon, Barnes & Noble Kobo, Audible ACX and other authors, such as Bella Andre and Barbara Freethy (by the way, it just amazes the way NY is sticking its head in the sand regarding the amazing success both of them, and Marie Force, have had as indie authors).
Now I push others, gently, but consistently, in order to achieve goals. No one cares more about the success of your book than the author does. Always remember that. Perseverance and persistence count for a lot.
My experience over the last several years as an indie is this: the absolute best bang for the buck and time is networking (beyond writing a good book and more good books). To actually meet the people who make this industry run.
The biggest mistake I made in traditional publishing was sitting back and thinking my agent, my editor, my publisher, etc. would take care of me. They’re not bad people, but like any job, they focus on the fires and not the person who isn’t on their radar. Getting on the radar is key. I actually thought that by not calling, emailing, etc. they would appreciate me more. Wrong. Out of sight, out of mind.
Sitting back and expecting people to come to you is a fatal assumption.
It takes persistence to really network. You have to look at all the cards you gather at a conference and after a few days to let everyone gather their brains, follow up.
I force myself to go talk to people who I need to meet. At Digital Book World I stood like one of those doofuses you always see hanging at the edge of the circle after the speaker is done and everyone else is talking to them after an exec at Amazon spoke. I waited until everyone had said their piece, then talked to him. Here’s a key though—you need an icebreaker. Bella Andre says “I made a million dollars selling eBooks last year.” She says it tends to get people’s attention. Duh. I said to this guy: “I’m selling one thousand eBooks a day on Kindle.” That got me some face time.
Actually, one piece of advice I give people now is that one of the best networking tools is to go to people’s blogs and leave cogent comments. People tend to read the comments on their own blogs. If you make sense, you will get noticed.
Bell Andre said something at Digital Book World: you email someone and they don’t reply, you keep doing it. Politely, spaced out. Nine times you won’t hear back as they’re swamped with work. But sooner or later you’ll hit that window where they have the time to respond. It took a while, but this month, Amazon features one of my KDP books, The Rock, in their 100 books under $3.99. My sales on that title jumped ten-fold (by the way, you have just a couple of days left to get this at $1.99).
As important as the writing is, networking is also important!
What do you do to network? Any special tips?