Online Networking for Authors

John Kremer, one of the leading experts on book marketing, once said, “Book marketing is all about relationships. And you’d better get good at doing them long-distance, because you’re never going to meet most of the people face-to-face.”

While telephone and e-mail may be sufficient for basic communications with these people once you’ve identified them, the Internet provides a wealth of opportunities to meet and connect with other authors, agents, publishers, retailers, readers, and others who can help you throughout the lifecycle of your book.

Before you start writing
The process of marketing your book starts before you even start writing it. You will also find that you will be wanting help and input regarding various aspects of the book-writing process. Some things you can use the Internet for before you start are:
· Market research
· Competitive analysis
· Education about the industry
· Start building a support network

While you’re writing your book
Very few books are truly written by one person with no other input. Non-fiction books need research for credibility and real-world stories for depth. Even fiction writers need brainstorming ideas, and just the general stimulation that comes from interacting with people. Some places you might want to spend time online during the writing process include:
· Writer’s forums
· Topical online communities
· Media communities

Preparing to publish
Some people get an agent and a publisher before they ever even start. Some write the book first and then take months or even years to get a publishing contract. The vast majority lie somewhere in between. You can turn to your online network for a variety of help with the process:
· Deciding on a publishing route
· Get input from multiple people
· Get referrals to agents and publishers
· Get feedback on your proposal
· Get endorsements on your proposal

Marketing your book
Your book is hot off the press! Now, how are you going to make it a best-seller? Assuming you haven’t been booked for the major talk show circuit, the next-best way to reach large numbers of people is to turn again to your growing network to help you get the word out. But it’s not going to be just to them and their immediate contacts—the idea is to now leverage those connections to help you reach a much larger audience. Here are just a few of the ways you can do this:
· Mailing list / forum announcements
· Media referrals
· Referrals to bulk buyers

From cradle to grave (or at least to the used book store shelves), a strong online network can help you write the right book, find the right agent and publisher, and market it to the right people.