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10 Author Networking Myths That will Hurt You

Updated on February 16, 2015
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

As in any industry and culture, there are ‘codes’ you have to follow to be accepted and be successful. The writing industry is no different. Everyone follows these codes or rules. Everyone swears by them. Everyone is deceived. Everyone gets hurt by them.

The vast majority of ‘codes’ authors follow are just the result of the writing crowd pushing everyone along with them. At one time they might have been successful in the early years of self-published authors on the internet. So many things were new that almost anything worked. Now with the number of authors out there multiplying by astronomical means almost daily, what might have been successful once is now dead or dying. Through this time many myths have developed on how authors should network. They have become rules that lead authors down a very deceptive path.

I’ve listed 10 of those myths here that many today will swear work for them. Maybe they do, or maybe they are just deceiving themselves. In fact, believing these myths could be your downfall and actually hurt your marketing and networking endeavors.


Post About Your Book Multiple Times Every Day

Every day I watch as authors post time and time again about their books. Many of them swear they have high sales due to that one act of marketing. The problem with doing this is that it is a huge network killer. Talk about a turn off!

Remember what networking is. It is not marketing though it is tied in with marketing and crucial to the success of marketing strategies. Networking is getting to know other people and establishing connections that could benefit you and your business goals.

Now the question becomes - How can you get to know someone if all you are doing is pushing your book in their face? You can’t. Then it isn’t networking. The key to networking is not talking about your business much if at all. That subject will bring itself into the picture, and when it does will have a much stronger and long-lasting effect.

So, how often should you post about your book? That’s the million dollar question up there with how often to post on your blog and what to price your book. There is no definite answer. It is easier to say when you shouldn’t. Don’t post every hour even if you are sharing a different book each time. I’ve done that and found too many people blocked me, unfriended/unfollowed me, or just ignored me. Don't post it every day and that be your only post. That is cold and unapproachable. You don't want to be viewed like that.

You also don’t want to go without posting about your books for weeks on end. Compromise these drastic ends of the spectrum. Post no more than once a day and no less than once every two or three days. The rest of the time interact and get to know people. Talk about other things that help you connect with people.

Join as Many Groups/Communities as You Can

The key to networking is mingling with others in the industry and with readers. That means getting involved. On Facebook, you join various groups. On Google Plus, it is communities. On LinkedIn, it is Groups. The idea is to congregate with others and exchange information. The myth has been to join as many groups as you could. That can easily backfire and cause you more harm than good.

First of all, you spread yourself way too thin by doing this. Remember what networking is? How can you get to know someone if you are having to interact with so many people at one time? You can’t. The only thing that can happen is appearing to be insincere. That will destroy all your networking and marketing attempts.

Join a few groups at first, maybe two or three. Get to know the members in those groups before you start branching out to find others. Trust me, the relationships you build there are worth millions. And you might find some valuable friendships.

Put Yourself in the Shoes of a Reader

Do you read the various posts authors put out about their books?

See results

Talk About Your Book As Often as You Can

How else will people know about your book, right? Yes and no. You need to be able and willing to talk about your book, but…..

Don’t talk about that and nothing else.

Really, do you like to be around that woman who talks about her cats and absolutely nothing else? How about the man that tells you about all his surgeries each time? People don’t want to hear about your book constantly either.

What you talk about depends on where you and the makeup of the group. If you are in an authors group, ask the opinion of the others on a marketing strategy or if they are for or against the Oxford comma. Comment on their posts. You’d be surprised how many instances appear where you can talk about your book.

When a discussion is about how to create a suspenseful scene, say, “In my book, I used colors to help the reader see and feel the suspense.” You didn’t shove your book out there. You offered a suggestion through your own experience and showed that you had used it in your book. Don’t be surprised that someone asks you what the title of the book was. Let the promotion of your book occur naturally. It will have a greater impact.


All Authors Think the Same

Networking involves mingling with many people. Most people tend to think everyone else will respond to situations in the same way they would. Nope! Sorry to disappoint you. That’s not the case. We are all individuals which means you’ll get a wide array of responses to anything.

When you begin to network, remind yourself that you don’t know these people. That means you have no idea what their reaction to certain phrases or topics will be. They are not all like you. Start off by reading posts and comments. You’ll quickly get a feel for people. Then give safe comments on posts. Respect others and their differences.

Also, don't assume. I can't tell you how many times I've had people get upset with me only because they made an assumption and made an ass of themselves while at the same time causing me a world of headache and drama.


Be Yourself

Okay, this myth is only partially true. You should always be yourself, but temper yourself when you network or expand yourself. It all depends on who you are.

Are you an extreme extrovert? You might need to tone it down a bit with others. It can come off as rude and obnoxious. Don’t tell people how wrong they are. Don’t correct them. Also, watch your language. You might be one who lets four letter words roll off your tongue every day and people close to you know you and don’t mind. In networking, that doesn’t fly.

Are you an extreme introvert? You’ll need to come out of your shell and be a little more assertive and open with people. Being shy when you are virtual networking is a sure sign you’re going to fail. You need to be able to interact with people and appear to be relaxed and confident even if you don’t feel like it.

Like Every Page You Can

It has been recommended to go around and like every page you can. By doing so you are establishing a wide network. That’s false! You’re just cluttering your page.

Like a page because you like it. Others who check out what you have liked or follow see that as an endorsement. If you go around liking every page, then I might follow that trail to a company or group that is not quite legit. Then I'll question your integrity. Pick your likes carefully, but do like pages. Show your support of something or someone you like. It helps them out, and that's a good thing.

Expecting to Get Your Back Scratched

If you like someone page, they should like yours back, right? NO! Yes, it is nice when someone reciprocates, but expecting them to is something entirely different.

I cannot tell you how many times I get a message on my Facebook account where someone says, “I have liked your page. Please like mine at xxxx.” What? No! I will not like your page because that is not why I want you liking mine. I want you to like it because you like it and will participate on it.

What you end up with is a lot of people liking your page but doing nothing with it. Now a premise behind this act is that you need so many likes before the social networking sites will promote you or give you certain benefits. You can still accomplish this without prostituting yourself. There are people who will like your page, really like your page. Go to them.

Friend As Many People As You Can

Another myth propagated for authors is that you need to friend as many people as you can. That can really backfire.

There is a limit to the number of followers or friends you can have. Get there, and you are dead in the water. So friending as many as you can will put you in a corner with no way out.

Then you have the fact that most of them will block you from their newsfeed as they really have no interest in what you post. So, why have them as a friend? Be consciousness of who you friend and follow. Make the network connection real. Make them valuable to both you and them.


Say Yes to Every Event and Invite

You get all these invites to events and such because you have connected with these people. You say yes to them all to show your support. But you don’t go? Then why say yes? That's not showing support. That's being rude.

The ones organizing the event see that 20 people are going to show up. If they all did what you did, then the party is a bust. Instead of supporting the person, you just let them down big time. That looks worse on you than declining to go. Put yourself in the other person's shoe and how you would feel.

Remember that you don't have to go to every event. Show your support by inviting others, sharing the event, or just sending an encouraging word.

Imitate Others

Too often everyone jumps on the bandwagon of doing what everyone else does. That can be good to gather ideas and suggestions on how you can proceed, but doing so also gets you lost in the crowd. So tweeting every day about the book might have worked when tweeting first began, but now instead of a handful of authors doing it, thousands are doing it. So how do I find yours in all that?

It's good to see what worked for others, but don't just follow blindly. Experiment. Tweak. Find a way to follow the heart of the suggestion while at the same time standing out in the ground and being someone a reader will look twice at.


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    • profile image

      Lance Sullivan 2 months ago

      Great Job.

    • Author Cheryl profile image

      Cheryl A Whitsett 3 years ago from Jacksonville, Fl

      I have been writing for many years and the problem I see with authors is they post chapters of their books on social net works thinking this is a good way to market. WRONG! It is bad luck to let other people read your writing until it is finished. If you post every chapter and it's read then no one will want to buy it. Why should they it's been read. When I finish a book I post the link one time as to where to buy it and then I will post my book trailer. Other then that I never post again about the book. How do I market? My husband travels all over. I have business cards that he leaves in stores, truck stops, restaurants etc and it works. You have to be tactful because it is a product and trying to sell a book and constantly talking about it is like talking to a telemarketer. Yep you just got hung up on. I have been successful in writing and what works for me may or may not work for you. I have also learned on this journey that people will give good and bad reviews and you have to be accepting of that and learn from it. People will often send me things they have written and ask my opinion but I am brutally honest. Writing is not for everyone and everyone I know has said I want to write a book. It isn't that easy. You have to have the artistic gift of writing in order to succeed.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      These are all very useful tips. You have clearly delineated the difference between networking and being overly pushy. Congratulations on receiving this well-deserved Hub of the Day award.

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 3 years ago from Australia

      Great, practical points. A writer can easily spend all day on the social network without actually writing, which defeats the whole point! Voted up, and congrats on HOTD

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Great tips for any new and upcoming author but we've all been there and made these mistakes. I do think that sometimes rules are meant to be broken which is why 'tweaking and being yourself' can be beneficial. A very good hub that will help many authors. Deserving the HOTD, congrats.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Hi,Thank you I found this to be a very informative Hub.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I loved reading your post. It's so true that some authors ( on Facebook) only post about their book and nothing else. That is so out of balance. I do share and like posts from like minded people about all kinds of topics. Rarely do they have anything to do with my novels. Great hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You have made some excellent points with your examples given. UUI votes and happy to share.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 3 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      All good advice and tips for Marketing in general. Overdoing it looks like insincerity and not enough like lack of confidence. Nicely rounded and bringing it up at the right time always is best.

    • Samuel Barrett profile image

      Samuel Barrett 3 years ago from Douglas County, Oregon

      I have noticed that the authors, musicians, etc. that I follow on facebook (and don"t end up blocking!) are the ones that post a good amount of non self-promoting content. It feels more genuine and less tedious. Of course they do intersperse their posts with a reasonable amount of promotion, but that is to be expected and welcomed. After all, they are usually somebody I follow because I legitimately like.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 3 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I've witnessed the over promotion on Twitter by some authors, Pinners, Redgage members and a few others and it is surely as off putting as you say. One author flooded Twitter with links to his book every 15 minutes for a couple of days and I had to unfollow - the book was not very good, either.

    • pedrn44 profile image

      Sandi 3 years ago from Greenfield, Wisconsin

      very interesting and enlightening. Congratulations on HOTD, it is well deserved.

    • HeatherBlesh profile image

      Heather Gomez 3 years ago from Monterey, CA

      In the online world I will have to agree a bit here; originality is scare. For the most part our informational hubs or articles are pretty much recycled information but set in a new point of view.

      As humans we want the success that we have seen of others so "Monkey see..Monkey do"...tends to follow. Thank you for your hub. It was insightful.

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Washington State

      Congratulations on your well deserved HOTD. These are some very good reminders of the many pitfalls we can fall into as we constantly try to perform in the ever changing social networking world. I agree wholeheartedly with your advice.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Congratulations for HOTD.

      Very interesting reading, giving lots to think about. Thanks.

    • SylviaSky profile image

      SylviaSky 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you for this article. I believe that a writer should do quality work and readers will come. Maybe not instantly. But good work finds its readership.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      This is refreshing to read--so what do we that hate networking really do!

    • profile image

      Oztinato 3 years ago

      It is clear that the "social media effect" is a pox on both credibility and true intellectual thought. It has nothing to do with science or credibility.

    • makingamark profile image

      Katherine Tyrrell 3 years ago from London

      Great topic for a hub and well done on getting HOTD! You've noticed what I've also noticed - and it's really great to have a list to refer people to!

    • sosown profile image

      Kelly 3 years ago from NJ, USA

      Interesting article. I learned a few things about facebook, that I am unfamiliar with. I liked the comment about being balanced. I heard that if you were a self publisher, and then sent your published book to a publisher there's a better chance of selling your work, because it is already type faced, which makes less work for the publishing house.

    • Robilo2 profile image

      Lori Robinson 3 years ago

      I am a self-published author.... the absolute worst thing you can do is to post about your book several times a day - wayyyy too much. readers will begin to ignore your posts..... I also agree that you should not only talk about your book.. in social gatherings.... that too is a popularity killer..

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

      Oh my goodness! These tips apply to not only writers, but ANYONE in business for themselves. Thank you so much for leading the way. And congrats on Hub of the Day!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 3 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Congrats on HOTD! Very interesting and well-done! I am a ways off from having my e-book ready to publish, so this is timely for me.

      Thanks for the valuable info. Also--thank you for using and spelling "tweak" correctly! ;-) You've no idea how often I see it misused or spelled as 'tweek,' and once, even confused with 'twerk!' Egads!

      Voted up, interesting and useful; also Pinned.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Good advice. I have been overloaded with people adding me on Twitter and all they do is try to market their books...each post is "check out my latest eBook etc"... It's promotion overload. Congrats on HOTD...well done.

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      Yes, good advice here. I dropped out of Facebook writing groups because of the 'in your face' marketing, invitations to ridiculous virtual book launch parties, and constant 'read me, read me, read me' stuff. As your article poll is suggesting already, this type of hype can have a negative and counter effect. I have found that committed online writing groups, such as Write Words, are the best promotional resource for me, as members give critical and honest feedback, and expect you to do the same to their work.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Congrats on your well-deserved HOTD accolade. Thanks for your very sensible advice. Some things are popular for other reasons than being right or good.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 3 years ago from UK

      It is really common sense but we have had so many people telling us differently. Thanks for the reminder

    • cinderella14 profile image

      Sharon 3 years ago from Philippines

      While it is true that networking is the best way to make authors becme popular, still one should do it in a way that his/her action may not be tag as spammy. This is the true scenario not only with authors but with almost any kind of online worker that requires other people in order to earn.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      Yes, lot of good sense here. I have just recently heard of "follow trains" where people post on your comment and say "follow me" or "follow4follow". This is NOT the way to get followers. They need to understand that if they want someone to follow them, they have to show an interest in the other person's post and also provide something interesting for others to follow.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 3 years ago

      Congrats on HotD! So many seem to treat it like a cheat as opposed to putting in what they hope to receive back. I have to think this is an oversight specific to social media as opposed to how they live the rest of their lives. Great topic and really good advice.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Even though I have no book to promote, I found your suggestions useful. Thank you for this. I often wonder if I should accept every "friend" request that comes along. I don't, because most of the time I don't know the people. You've given me a good answer here. Thank you.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      It becomes spam and as you pointed out, Melissa, a popularity contest. Too many groups and such on various social networking sites is so empty of meat and anything worth looking into. I hate saying it. I've left many groups because it was just a dumping ground for links and nothing was commented on.

    • Melissa Knight profile image

      Melissa Knight 3 years ago from Murfreesboro, TN

      Thank you for this! I am not a very good "networker" because I've found that my real life friends spend all their time "selling" themselves to virtual friends. It has led me to feel like a lot of networking sites are popularity contests - and nothing more. I do try, and this has given me some serious insight as to what I should - and shouldn't be doing!

    • profile image

      ArtDiva 3 years ago

      So much truth written here.

    • annanee profile image

      annanee 3 years ago from USA

      Everything you wrote applies to this community as well. Good to remember to just stick with genuine behavior.

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 3 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      Definitely food for thought, and encouraging; I'm no more "ept" at social networking online than I am person-to-person, so am glad to hear I don't have to jump through all these hoops.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Well deserved HOTD. So many people are out there spreading themselves so thin there's nothing left! They wind up not only too thin, but boring.

      You've made many great points and this is something every writer should read.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 3 years ago from Minnesota

      You have a very refreshing light to shed on author networking. Congratulations on HotD, well deserved.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day and thanks for useful info that can help authors stay balanced when networking.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 3 years ago from New York City

      The suggestions you cite have always bugged me. Once in a while, I tried to follow them, but it was like wearing someone else's clothes.

      I hope writers starting out can save themselves some frustration by learning from your hub.

      The rule is the exactly the same for marketing as it is for writing: be yourself.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 3 years ago from Florida

      Congrats on HOTD! I have never written a book, but I've published many articles all around. I probably don't market myself as much as I should, I am somewhat shy about my own work.

      Voted this UP, and shared.

    • Craan profile image

      Sheila Craan 3 years ago from Florida

      It's only now @RGraf that social networking is working wonderfully for me. When Twitter first came out I received heaps of views on my blogs, now I must be careful what I Twit. Facebook is also better. I have been able to talk about my children's books by creating a FB page for one of them. Other times I simply interact with the people I know and others I am getting to know. The rush is fantastic. Thank you for posting such an informative hub. I hope many authors are helped by your HOTD! Congratulations!

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thank you all. This was a pleasant surprise this morning when I woke up :).

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is a solid set of recommendations! Congratulations on HOTD. Definitely well deserved! Voted up and more, plus sharing.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good information. The publishing ( and self-publishing) world seems to be reinventing itself on a daily basis. I don't know how many times I've heard my fellow authors say it was easier to write the book and to market it!

      Congrats on HOD!

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      This was useful and refreshing to read -- I've often thought that many of the networking "rules" you've mentioned here were to be taken with a grain of salt :-)

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 3 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      Very interesting and a great job overall but your last point is cut off and, since you started numbering with "1" and that is the only number, you're probably missing another bullet point or two as well.

    • mySuccess8 profile image

      mySuccess8 3 years ago

      Networking trends are constantly changing and growing, especially with advances in technology and the internet. You have presented the latest tips which I find them very useful, including the many invaluable tips contained in the video. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 3 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      This Hub and the chosen video with Ms. Zack is something to come back time every so often until you get the common sense and insights added to how you think about networking and inter-connectedness. Thanks.