We all have different gifts, talents, and strengths, but one thing we have in common is connections. Don’t believe me? Well, if you have family, friends, or neighbors, or yes, if you’re on LinkedIn, then you have connections. Now that I’ve proven that point, let’s talk about why it matters.

No man (or woman) is an island.

You need people to support you on your author’s journey. These may be friends, fellow authors, or even your kids, but you need people to root for your success and lift you up when you’re down. Your network, no matter how big or small, also serves to guide you along. They may provide feedback on your work, your goals, your plans, or even offer expert advice—a critical step on the author’s journey.

In any profession, an expert network propels success.

Even if you’re an expert on the subject matter you’re writing on, readers will take your advice to heart when you couple it with other experts in the field. If you’re a fiction author, it matters too. If your book is set in a high school, Paris, Mars, or the Pentagon, you’ll need experts to vet your particulars. If your character is a lawyer, ten-year-old child, or mountain climber, your expert network (including kids) can help validate their authenticity and relatability. If you write non-fiction? Well, expert contributors, stats providers, foreword commentators, and notable promoters are a must. But don’t take my word for it. A few authors in my “Expert Network” share how building an expert network is vital to any author’s success. 

To help you build your expert network, my author friends and experts share their experiences and advice. 

“Use social media to be social. Connect with other writers, authors, publishers, and pros in the industry and cultivate meaningful relationships with these people. Look for leaders that are where you want to be as well as those less experienced. This way you can learn from mentors and have a chance to give back to others too. Learn to recognize opportunities to collaborate with like-minded people. Incorporating these ideas into your business growth strategy will help you develop a fulfilling and prosperous expert network.” ~ Rich Perry, Business Communication Strategist

“Writing can often feel like a lonely endeavor. After all, much of the hard work happens during those quiet, solitary hours when it’s just you and your keyboard. Having a group of people who can support and advise you at each step of the writing journey can be the key to continuing to create—especially when you feel stuck or rejections start to roll in.

For me, joining a writing workshop and attending writing retreats have been crucial. These have kept me accountable as I wouldn’t dare show up without my pages. Getting immediate feedback from an instructor and my peers lets me know exactly what works and what doesn’t. Seeing my fellow writers in the thick of it too removes a lot of the isolation of the writing life and replaces it with a “We’re all in this together” camaraderie. With each workshop and retreat I’ve attended, I’ve been fortunate to stay in touch with my instructors and classmates. We let each other know about upcoming events, share what’s worked for us marketing-wise (and what hasn’t!), and have become each other’s most fervent cheerleaders.” ~ Liz Alterman, author of Sad Sacked, He’ll Be Waiting, and The Perfect Neighborhood.

“The journey from writer to published author is without a doubt full of challenges. Early on, my critique partners played a vital role in helping me refine my craft and stay encouraged. As I progressed, the connections I made at conferences helped me to further grow and plug into the publishing industry. And over the years, as I moved into indie publishing, I’ve found amazing support and encouragement from the authors I connected with through various courses on craft and marketing. 

I learned from my years as a graphic designer that the best ideas and solutions are born out of working with others to share ideas and brainstorm. This holds true for us as authors, whether we are brainstorming book ideas or marketing approaches. We can learn and accomplish so much more when we have these connections, in which we establish mutually beneficial relationships and the bonus of lasting friendships.” ~ Dineen Miller, Award-winning and Amazon best-selling author. 

Simply put, people need people.

Even if you’re an introvert like me, you need people in your corner. And if you’re an author, you need people to turn to for help along the way. So, start today building your network for support and expert advice. Collectively, they’re your success tribe. Make sure they know they’re appreciated! 

2 responses to “Developing an Expert Network”

  1. Many authors who are drawn to writing are far from extroverted. I am definitely in this category, being most comfortable with family, or small groups of people I know. I also love spending time in the company of a cup of tea and a good book, and my dog. I know that authors need publicity, and My preferred social media platform of IN and FB involves sharing books I love, grandparenting, including activities to try with grandkids, books to share, gardening and generally life. I try to be real, but to include a little book information in moderation.

    My thinking on this is that, when I read a book I love, I want to read more of their work, but I am also fascinated to know a little about them personally and why they write what they do. I figure others may react similarly. This is different from the typical author page, which I find uncomfortably product driven. That might be fine for some, but it just isn’t me.

    As for book signings, I think they were created to keep us humble. Sometimes they are a massive success, sometimes no one comes. It’s unpredictable and can be discouraging but super exciting…just like writing!

    • Sheryl, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can honestly say the same, preferring a cup of tea, a good book, and my dog. But you’re right, authors need publicity. So, it’s nice to see it personality focused, versus the product-driven one. It’s important to keep a balance, right? Again, I love to know the who, why, what, and how that takes them from idea to book. Hence, The Author’s Journey column!

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