Sunday, August 26, 2007

Panel Discussion: Networking

Panel members, please come in and introduce yourself and give us some great networking tips.

Attendees feel free to ask questions.


projectr.e.a.d. said...

Hello Everyone - I specialize in marketing and promoting the Artists of the African experience in America such as: African American Authors, African Drummers, African Storytellers, Poets, and African American Graphic Artists. To fully represent all of my family I must Network throughout the USA. I use the Internet, I host a talk radio show in NYC on FM Radio, African American Associations and if i dont see an organization i create one to network everyone together. So feel free to ask me anything

Rae L. said...

projectr.e.a.d., that's wonderful you're into promoting so many different creative talents! How did you get started with the organization?

Shoba said...

Hi Martin,

I'm Shoba Mano I live in Malaysia and I've written two romance novels considered to be the first Asian romance novels with Asian setting, characters and written by an Asian.

The first is set in my home country, Malaysia and published by OM Books India and the second is set in Vietnam and published by Treble Heart Books, Arizona, USA. Details about them can be found at

I was wondering if you promote Asian authors too or just African American. Thank you.

LaShaunda said...

Hello everyone,

My name is LaShaunda and networking is my third name, my second is promotion. I’ll talk about that in another workshop.

I believe networking is very important in this writing business. Its all about who you know. You want to know people who know about what’s happening in the industry. You want to know people who know what’s selling and what’s not. You want to know people who know how to get your name out there in the world.

I’m going to talk about networking online, since that’s what I know. Ask me who I know in St. Louis and I’ll look at you crazy. Mainly because I do most of my networking online, since my magazine is online. One day I hope to do more networking locally, but for now I’m enjoying the net.

How can you network online?

With your signature. Your email signature can introduce you to many people. If you have a link, they can learn even more about you from your site.

Join a online group, forum, list. I’m a firm believer that you can do a lot of networking on groups, forums or list. My suggestion is not to be a lurker, participate in these groups. One of my favorite groups is The Writer’s View on yahoo.groups. I’ve learned so much from this group about the Christian industry.

Blogs are another way to network. Post a few comments at different blogs and you’re on your way to networking. is another form of networking, I just joined a new group for booklovers called, Shelfari I’m meeting all kinds of people who love books.

I learned about online networking when I started SORMAG. Since I only knew a few authors, I had to meet more to help build SORMAG.

I went back to my Mary Kay training where they say to meet five new people each day. I introduced myself and SORMAG to five new authors each day. Some said No, but most said yes because they wanted to promote their books.

These networking helped a lot when I decided to do the online conference. I sent out invites, and they started coming back in with what can I do to help.

I know if it wasn’t for the networking, I wouldn’t have gotten this far with SORMAG. Next month we celebrate 7 years on the net. So yes, networking does work.

Shelia said...

Blogging is a great way to network with other authors, readers and people in general. I'm going to repost an article I wrote on using Blogging as a promotional tool.

Blogging - For Fun and your Fans
Shelia M. Goss ©2007 All Rights Reserved.

What is a blog? A blog is the equivalent to an online diary. You can use it to post personal information or useful information (such as this workshop). It can also be used to interact with other bloggers and if you’re an author, your readers.

Why would I want to blog? Blogging is what you make of it. It’s a way to introduce your readers to a side of you that they can not see from reading a bio on your website or on the back of your book cover. It also gives your reading audience a chance to leave you real-time comments and interact with not only you but also other readers of your books.

How often should I blog? Don’t look at blogging as a dreaded task placed on your “to do” list. Blogging should be fun and if you become an active blogger, you’ll look forward to posting as well as interacting with others. How often you post is up to you. You can post daily, every other day, weekly or whenever the whim hits. You’ll find the more responses you get on your blog posts, the more you’ll be inclined to post on somewhat of a schedule.

Is there Blog etiquette? If you’ll be away for an extended period of time, just write a quick post, so your regular visitors won’t think you forgot about them.

There are times that you may get some unwanted posts (yes, spammers have infiltrated the blog world), so don’t hesitate to either delete those posts or set up your blog so posters have to put in a password.

Should my blog have a theme? Not necessary, but it makes it fun. I have several blogs. Each blog has its own theme. For example:

· is a place to discuss relationships, books, or whatever else is on your mind.

· showcases my interview excerpts, reviews and/or information on the world of entertainment: books, music, TV and film

How do I come up with topics? Keep your eyes and ears open. Life is filled with ideas. Some of my topics stem from what’s going on in the news or from conversations I’ve had or observed. Since the central theme on the My Invisible Husband blog is about relationships, it’s hard to run out of something to discuss. Take a chance and see what works for you. Blogging shouldn’t be difficult. It should be fun. If it’s draining, maybe you need to step away from it for a while or come up with another topic. There may be some days you only feel like rambling and that’s okay too.

Examples of other blogs:

Now that I’ve decided to blog, how do I get started? There are many blog services available to you. Below is a short list of blog websites:






Visiting other blogs is also a way of meeting new people.

Remember keep blogging fun and your readers will enjoy visiting and who knows, you might just get a book sale or two from it too.

Visit one of my blogs and leave me a message with your weblink. If you don’t have a blog, create one.

Shelia M Goss
National Bestselling Author of My Invisible Husband, Roses are thorns, Violets are true and
Paige's Web

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone.

I’m Nikki Arana. Here’s the official bio, you know, the one they read to introduce you at a workshop. Imagine that LaShaunda is standing at a podium reading this:

Nikki Arana is an award-winning author of women’s fiction, essays, poetry, and magazine articles whose work has been published in the United States and Canada. She has won several national awards, including the American Christian Fiction Book of the Year for Women's Fiction, and the Beacon Award. Her book, The Winds of Sonoma was named One of the Top 20 Books of the Year by Nikki is also the recipient of the 2007 Excellence in Media Silver Angel Award, the Jessie Cameron Alison Writer of the Year Award. She is a member of the Idaho Writers League, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America.

(Nikki takes the podium)

I thought I’d talk about networking done through personal contact. This will be of special interest to writers who are early in their career. If possible, plan a book tour for the month your book is released. If you set aside one week you can cover an amazing amount of ground. Start your preparations a month before your trip.

Get a map and plan a route. Choose large towns or cities, depending what is within driving distance each day. Once you’ve chosen your route—I made a big circle, starting in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to Spokane, Wa., to the Tri-Cities, etc., ending in San Francisco, CA—then choose the bookstores where you plan to stop. You can use to get directions right to their front door.

You can find the stores by using Google. I stuck with Borders and chain bookstores like Borders and Barnes& Noble. After choosing two stores in the towns/cities where I was stopping, I called the store and asked for the manager. I introduced myself and told them I would be coming to their area and the date, then I asked if I could stop by and meet them. The answer was always yes. But that question was only an ice-breaker. It allowed me to start a conversation. I asked if they carried my book, if the answer was no, I told them I’d bring a copy with me. (In most cases, by the time I arrived they had the book in stock.) If the answer was yes, then I asked if they’d like me to sign the books on their shelves. The answer was always yes.

I lined up over forty stores. I used an Excel sheet to track the places, dates, and names of the contacts. I got up each morning, drove to the next town, met the mangers or owners I’d called, and talked my book up. I gave each one an autographed copy of my book (make sure your agent negotiates free books from your publisher for this purpose), and asked if I could leave bookmarks on their checkout counters. If I the bookseller was very supportive, I asked if I could put bookmarks in other books on the shelves in my same genre. Yep, books of other authors! It’s a great way to get your book in front of readers. They buy a book of an author they like, find your card, it’s the same genre they like to read, and they decide to give you a try.

When my time at the store ended, I left my business card and took one of theirs, then e-mailed them the next day thanking them for their time. I also stopped, unannounced at any bookstores I happened to see along the way. By the end of the week, I had networked with over a hundred booksellers in four states. I had offers for future book signings and workshops.

This one-on-one networking is time consuming and expensive compared to some of the other avenues that are available. But I don’t believe anything has more impact then personal contact. After all, you are investing in your career. When I got home I made an e-mail group for my booksellers. Now we are on a first name basis. It has made a huge difference.

Every type of networking has value and I’ve used them all. Be as diverse as time and your budget allow.

Nikki Arana

Dyanne said...

Good morning all,

I'm Dyanne Davis. Since I see all the bases have already been covered I would just be repeating. Suffice it to say I am in agreement with the comments that the other panel members have already talked about.

I have six books with Genesis Press and two with Parker Publishing. Instead of a long bio I'll just include my website. Ask me anything. This is a great conference and it's going to be a lot of fun.


Anonymous said...

Good Morning! I'm Ayn Hunt, a published writer of Gothics, who also writes Romances under Ayn Amorelli. My website, if you'd like to see excerpts of my books, a few articles about ghosts, and my bio, can be found at my website,

I tried to post last night, but unfortunately it got lost in cyberspace.

I too, agree with all that's been said about networking. But please, if you have any questions or comments, post them and I'll answer right away.

Take Care,

Tee C. Royal said...

Greetings all! I have several "hats" in the literary arena, but for those who don't know I'm Tee C. Royal, founder of RAWSISTAZ Literary Group which promotes and supports the work of African-American Authors. We're approaching our 7th Year (next month) of providing FREE services to the literary community. And, while we do specialize in African-American books, we review and promote any book sent to us on our site(s), newsletters, etc. For more information, please visit or

I see a lot of the bases were already covered, but would like to add another angle: literary events. Readers and writers alike can attend literary events, from booksignings to book club meetings, and on to writing workshops and literary conferences. There are many held from month through month throughout the states and abroad. Perhaps the biggest is Book Expo America ( which is normally held in late May/early June. Others are set up for particular genres or regions and a good source for finding out about many events is Shaw Guides (

RAWSISTAZ has an annual conference, The RAWSISTAZ Affair, for both readers and writers and it is a wonderful event, which has the feel of a family reunion, but is for literary folks. For more information, visit our site at We also hold weekly chats in our online chat room for readers and writers, so chats too (online and off) can be a great place to network and meet others in the industry.

My piece of advice would be to research the particular event, see who the speakers are, and what opportunities are available for you. This will help you decide if it will beneficial to you to attend. So, make sure you add Literary Events into your networking plans.

That's all for now, I'll stand by for any questions.

- Tee C. Royal

The Paperback Diva said...

LaShaunda I wanted to say I love the idea of introducing yourself to 5 people a day. Many writers are not natural extroverts. Like me! Sometimes I have to push myself to reach out to other people. That's what networking is all about.

The Paperback Diva said...

Nikki, I'm in awe of your drive and dedication. I'm going to try it. I wish you the best of luck in your career.

The Paperback Diva said...

(2nd attempt to post--hope it's not a duplicate!)

My name is Andrea Jackson, aka the Paperback Diva. Networking does not come easily to me since I'm a retiring person by nature. I do a lot of my networking on line, but I also belong to writers groups locally and attend conferences as often as finances allow.

Whether on line or in person, I think it's important to remember that networking is not all about what others can do for you. I've seen people at conferences practically stalking the editors and agents, the big name authors. And ignoring those they don't see as useful. People sense when they're being used. It won't get you anywhere in the long run. You'll simply turn off those you want to impress.

It's also good to remember that the same people you pass on the way, you will pass on the way down to.

All of which is to say, treat everyone with respect and friendliness. Networking is not about making your "sales pitch", it's about getting to know folks in the business. So go to the places that you think are pertinent to your career. Talk to people. Introduce yourself, strike up a conversation. It can be about the weather, the trip, the place, what they are wearing. People love to be around someone who is enthusiastic and interesting. Listen to what others have to say. Exchange business cards. Drop them a line by email later on. Not necessarily about your work, but about enjoying meeting them. If you promised to send them information, do it by all means! That definitely puts you in their network.

Networking is about people helping one another.

Tee C. Royal said...

Andrea, I LOVE your post and am in total agreement. It's hard explaining to people that what I do isn't about ME, but for a greater purpose. I strive to always help out others, first and foremost.


Hi, I'm Dee said...

Give a Book Launch Party.

I love to do these for my recording artists clients, but they work well for novelists also.

How to do it:

1. Decide on a theme, hopefully your book theme

2. Book a lost cost-preferably no cost venue (your home, a library, a museum, a church, a coffeehouse.)

3. Order 25 to 50 of your books. Not the ARCS, but the book.

4. Book entertainment (your sister, your church praise team, local group.)

5. Establish a cheap menu that fits your theme.

6. Create invites with your book cover on it. And a feedback card for the press.

7. Send these invites to local press, bloggers, book reviewers, and your top 25 family/friends.

8. Pick a friend to be your RSVP contact. Pick a friend to build your goody bag. Pick a friend to build a gift basket and door prize. Pick a friend to greet the door and check the guest list. Make sure there is a man at the door with your friend. :)

9. Two weeks before the event send a media advisory to the media. send a special thank you message with directions to the media that rsvp'd earlier.

10. Have the party. Have fun. Read an excerpt of the book. Give out the book.

11. Send thank you cards to the Media with your cover on it. Have a friend or your publicist contact media that attended for follow up. Send press releases to media that did not come.

Budget these expenses out of your advance for the book. An event planner could save you on cost.

LaShaunda said...

I'm in awe at the wonderful posts. I'm learning even more about networking.

Networking is about what can I do for you. That's the part I love.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Thanks to all the panel members who have posted.

The Paperback Diva said...

Thanks, Tee. You, along with RAWSISTAZ, definitely embody the spirit of networking. Your site is an asset to readers as well as writers.


Vicki M. Taylor said...

Wow, lots of great networking information. I am an introvert (big time) and tend to do the majority of my networking online. I've also had a "virtual" book tour where I was set up by a coordinator to "appear" on a certain amount of blogs for a month. The blog hosts would interview me and post the interview on their blog on the day I was to appear. It worked out great and I saw an increase in sales from it.

LaShaunda said...

Online book tours are a great way to network. I even started a new promotion feature for SORMAG because I was getting so many book tour offers.

I offer a FREE tour if you have your tour organized and need a stop for the tour.

I offer for FEE tours if you want me to organize a tour for you.

Its open to all genres you don’t have to be multi-cultural.


If you want to network with authors, book tours is the way to go. Sometimes you even receive a free book.

Do you have a blog or website, then you can offer them as place to visit for book tours.

You can be part of a tour group like SORMAG Online Tours or you can offer your services by yourself. Many authors send out requests for sites to visit.

Dyanne said...

I don't see any questions yet but I am seeing great comments. Andrea, long time no hear. I agree with Tee. So many people want ot make contact simply if it's going to help them. That is not networking. That's sucking up.

Before I go off on a tangent, Tee, thanks for the ideas for a book lauch party. I've never had one and keep wanting to so it's good to knwo the types of things to do. I wanted to do the first vampire book but think I will do it either for Many Sahdes or my first women fiction.

I do have a question. Should authors hold launch parties for each book or for a book in a genre different than what they write?

Back to networking. Example of willingness to help without expecting something in return. I'm not the most computer savy person but I know people who are. Seressia Glass talked to me on the phone and went in to my myspace and decorated my site and then she stayed on the phone and went with me to picturetrail to show me how to put a slideshow on my site and on myspace.

I then gave that information to other friends who wanted to do it. Seressia made a movie trailer of her book and was ready to help me with mine. Someone else told me that it was on my ocmputer. Windows XP go to start then accesories then to window movie maker and follow directions.

What I just did was networking. Share what you learn with others. It's that simple. Again I sent the information on to others. And another form of networking. I don't know if you all want this or not but if you make book trailers you can put them on youtube for free.



Rae L. said...


Thanks for posting the steps to create a book launch party! I was thinking of doing one but I wasn't sure how to go about it. Your list is much appreciated!


Dyanne said...

This one is shorter, I promise. This conference is networking. Thank you LaShaunda for organizing this.


Celine said...

Thanks for all the good info on networking... I've tried, but I've not been an effective blogger on my own. I'm better off blogger with my fellow authors at our publisher's blog site. It gets a lot of hits--more than my poor excuse for a blog does! ;)

Any suggestions you have to make it better, please let me know:

Rudelle Thomas said...

I'm Rudelle Thomas and I am the Editor/Publisher of Divine Eloquence Magazine. I have been networking mainly online since I started the magazine in 2001. I joined many online writing groups and social networks, use email signatures, and magazine advertising to connect with people in the industry. I provide free advertising to authors in my magazine and also do spotlights and exclusive interviews and most authors are very interested in using those services. I also do reviews as well as print reviews done by other reviewers. I write devotionals and articles for various electronic and print publications around the world and always add my website address and email in my bio. I created the Divine Companies Network about 6 weeks ago which presently has about 300 members including authors, business owners, ministries, educators, publishers, musical artists, etc. Altogether I have built up about 4,000 friends/members using the various online networks, blogs, etc. that are available to me. It takes time to build those connections up and keep them active, but I've found that it's worth it. I am never short content or writers for my magazine, and when I launch a new product or have a new release, I am never short potential clients. Alot of those connections came by word of mouth from someone else that was already connected. My advice is to use the internet to your full advantage. It's the only place you can have access to millions of people around the world without ever leaving your home and for the most part it doesn't cost you a thing! Just be sure not to spam. Hope that helps somebody.

Be Blessed!

Rudelle Thomas

Shelia said...

Celine, you've done the first step in getting exposure for your blog. Visit other blogs and make sure to use your blog in your tagline when you comment or if on blogger, sign in and folks can automatically click your name to see a list of your blogs.

It may take awhile to build up an audience, but the key to blogging is to do it for the fun of it...the audience will come. Keep in mind that everyone who reads your blogs won't be commenting. I got about 2k hits on my blog the other day but only a few people left a comment...I never would have known how many folks visited if I didn't see the stats.

Shelia said...

Dee, thanks for the book launch party suggestions.

The Paperback Diva said...

Hello Dyanne! [waving back!]

I have a tendency to lurk on the groups we share but I've been uplifted by many of your posts.

Your comments about Seressia are a perfect example. She's such a sweet lady. One of my critique partners made me a book trailer for my site. I've shared book signing events with other authors. This conference has been so full of information and opportunities. I'm happy to return the favor any time I can.


Anonymous said...

When should an aspiring writer start networking with others, should we wait til our novel is finished or could we start while our novel is in progress?

Anonymous said...

I'm planning to use a pen name once my writing is completed. Should I wait to use that name once I have an agent or publisher or could I network now using my pen name even as an aspiring writer/ blogger/ myspace?

LaShaunda said...

I believe networking before you’re published is a must. Published writers usually know when their publishers are looking for new writers. Networking with these writers, keeps you in the know.

If you wait until your book comes out, it will be too late.

Network with your name writing as, that way readers will know who you are when the book hits the stand.

P.S. If you’re posting anonymous, please sign your name, so we know who we’re talking to. Can’t network with anonymous. :)

Shelia said...

Anonymous, I agree with LaShaunda...whatever name you will be using as your pen name, use it so that people will become familiar with it. You can decide whether or not to tell people your real name as you correspond with them.

Dyanne said...

I'd like to add something to that. When you're not yet published you'll find by networking that you will avoid many of the mistakes that others made on their way to becoming published. People will also share information on who is accepting the kinds of books you're writing. In this business we all need all the help and updated information we can get.

Anonymous said...

Regarding networking before you're published . . . I would go even further. I would set up a website if you have the funds to do it. I created a very simple, inexpensive one and put a picture of myself. I gave a short explanation about my writing journey and made a place for people to sign up who wanted to receive quarterly updates about what was happening. People loved it. You start with family and friends. But it will soon grow. One day you’ll be e-mailing all your fans and telling them your book is available to purchase. They feel a part of it and will help spread the word about your book. Also, having the site keeps you focused that you are an emerging author. You are actively engaged in making it happen. It isn't just some pipe dream. Also, join writing/author groups that write in your genre. Post their websites on your site as Author Friends. Ask then to do the same for you. Go to my website and click on the Meet Nikki tab and you can see an example.

Anonymous said...

Ayn Hunt here :)

About getting a website before you're published. Yes, definitely. But you might want to experiment by using the free web sites before you invest any money. Many of them have step by step instructions to familiarize you with the process.
You can do a search on line to find one you'd like to try out.

Take Care,

Anonymous said...

Everyone here has given me a lot of great material, especially your information on blogging. You also gave me a gem of an idea. Thanks so much.
Night To Dawn

Shoba said...

So very sorry for posting this late. Had internet connection problems.

Thanks Jill and everyone else for your pointing me to several Christian books with supernatural elements, including your own. Wow! I must check them out.

By the way, loved your workshop on DEEP POV, Jill.

And Nikki, I'm so glad you are writing something to highlight the difficulties of conversion for a Muslim. Not the easiest of subjects to tackle but admire you for doing it.

Please feel free to write to me after the discussion. I'd be be happy to help with any questions you may have.

My website is and my email

Thanks for the discussion!

Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

About Me

My photo
I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.

I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.

I’m available for:

Online promotion coaching
Contact me

Serving Our Community 365 Days a Year!