The Power of Networking - by author Alicia Caldwell Henderson
With my heart leaping around inside of me, my trembling finger pressed publish. After about three days wait, my first book was live and available for sale on Amazon.
Finally, I had accomplished something I set out to do over 15 years ago. But what was next?
This time around, I wasn’t connected to a publisher or any other professional person in the world of writing, authorship, and published books. My current world is centered around secondary education, literacy specifically, but nothing that would help me navigate the world my heart longs for.
With each week after the release of my book, I stumbled upon new ideas and considerations. Maybe I should create an author page on Facebook? Done. Well, I guess I need an author page for Instagram too? Done. I guess I need to advertise. Created an ad campaign through Amazon.
But it wasn’t enough.
Azerica’s story in my book, “young, dumb, and naïve,” is a story many teenage girls live daily. I knew I needed to learn how to position myself better in order for more people to be aware of what I have to offer. I’m trying to impact a culture, a generation of people who have given up on reading because they don’t enjoy it and they don’t see themselves represented enough in literature.
I needed more.
I joined as many writing and author Facebook groups as I could and began connecting with people… other authors. What initially began as like for likes, turned into opportunities to learn, grow, and network. Then I found that same support magnified on Instagram with the follow for follow loops.
Yes, I am aware that isn’t necessarily the best way to grow your following and reach your
market audience to get sales. However, meeting and networking with other authors is like meeting thousands of new best friends. The support offered to one another is second to none. Each post and loop shared presents new opportunities for growth and development whether through marketing or writing.
Each time an opportunity is presented, I take it. Each opportunity is a new opportunity to share my work, get exposure, and get content for marketing purposes. Each opportunity is a chance to connect with another writer, reader, or reviewer.
With each connection, I’m renewed and the purpose for my passion stays ignited.
In all honesty, writers need each other. Creating and writing often leaves us in vulnerable places because we understand the magnitude of the impact of our work. Yet, at the same time, it’s scary to constantly wear our hearts on our sleeves for the world to judge. Even still, we know the world needs our stories. We know the world needs the stories of our author friends. And in our climb to success, we tend to bring our peers along with us.
Now, I don’t have it all figured out. But I am confident that I’m continuously building a network around me that will allow me to constantly learn and grow.
If you haven’t already, examine your network of people and ask yourself the following
Does your network include a balance of writers, readers, marketers, editors, and reviewers?
Do those in your network post and contribute material that offer you the opportunity to grow?
Do you engage with those in your network?
Do those in your network present opportunities? And do you accept them?
Always look for and take opportunities. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Do the extra work it takes to be featured. Rely on your fellow writer friends for encouragement.
There’s room for all of us to be successful.
Alicia Caldwell Henderson
Alicia Caldwell Henderson, author and educator, was born and raised in London, KY. At 15, she moved to Jacksonville, FL with her family. She holds a BA in Communications and an MS in Educational Psychology. Since 2002, she’s been in the business of “impacting lives,” first working for non-profit organizations to now teaching Reading and Language Arts in secondary education.
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