A few posts back I explained how an author had contacted me about doing a guest post for her blog. I liked her approach because in her e-mail she obviously knew exactly who I was and had clearly read some of my work. I felt honored, not used, and I was happy to help her out. I even blogged about the experience, and here I am blogging about it again!
Connecting with fellow authors is a great idea. The trick to doing it successfully is to add some context to your outreach. Here are two examples of how to do it right:
1. Connecting on LinkedIn: When you send a connection request to a stranger, always add a personal message. I usually accept personalized invitations because I appreciate that the sender took the time to explain to me why he/she wants to connect, but unfortunately these invitations are the exception, not the norm.
When I receive generic LinkedIn connection requests from people I don’t recognize, I never know what to make of it. I meet a lot of people, so I can never be sure if it’s spam or from someone I actually know. I usually reply with a quick note asking the person to refresh my memory as to how we met. More than 95 percent of the time the person responds explaining that we haven’t met but that he/she is an aspiring author. When I ask if he/she has read (or bought) any of my books, the reply is almost always no. Put yourself in my shoes here–how would you feel?
2. Connecting through my website: I love getting e-mails from authors who are inspired by my career, even more so if they have read some of my work. However, I also receive generic (e.g. copy/paste) e-mails nearly every day from authors asking me to check out their books–with zero mention of having read (or bought) my books. Again, put yourself in my shoes here. How would you feel?
Reaching out to fellow authors is smart–just be smart in how you do it, and you’ll be on your way!
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2015 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.