Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Networking In A Nutshell

As many of you know, I’m in the middle of a month-long virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotions that will end on December 23, to promote my new novel, "The Devil Can Wait. As a result, the CEO of the organization, Dorothy Thompson and I were discussing the value of networking with our readers and fellow authors.

“It's interesting to try to figure out just what works the best,” she said. “You just try different things ... That's all part of networking.”

When you stop and think about it, networking is nothing more than using the social skills and manners our moms, dads, and first grade teacher tried to instill in us. In this fast-paced world of instant gratification a simple "please" and "thank you" still has the power to get you noticed.

Everyone who blogs knows how hard it is to get people to read their posts. Granted, I don’t want to beg, but heck, I've been known to drag a few of my closest friends by the ear to my posts and they’re still talking to me. ;)

But seriously, when people take the time to visit a blog and write a comment, the very least the author can do is acknowledge them with a response.

I’m often asked how I manage to keep up with the various sites I belong to. Call me crazy but yesterday I joined my 25th group and spent several hours posting announcements about my December virtual book tour on all of them. Since December 1, several articles, interviews, and reviews of "The Devil Can Wait" have been published. You'll find them at the following links:

Dec. 1 - Fiction Scribe (interview)

Dec. 1 -- Joylene Nowell Butler (interview)

Dec. 2 - The Dark Phantom (guest post)

Dec. 2 – Book Marketing Buzz

Dec. 2 -- Rose and Thorn Reviews (book review)

Dec. 3 – The Writer’s Life (guest post)

I’ve received and responded to several comments on each of these posts and will continue to check them throughout my tour. But this is nothing new to me. I do that on every site and every blog I visit whether I’m on tour or not. If I don’t know the bloggers and I'm not sure if they’ll visit the site again, I go to their Blogger profile for an e-mail address or their website link and send them a thank you note. If the post is on one of several sites where you “invite people to be your friend,” I invite them.

I know what your thinking. Sure this takes time, but don't think for a minute the recipients won't notice. PR 101: That one-on-one, old fashion thank you note is what people remember most. The best part about networking is that it’s free and the few minutes a day you spend reaching out to your readers and fellow authors will pay you back tenfold.

So give me a chance to network with YOU! If you have a minute, drop in on one of my tour stops and leave a comment or question for me. I guarantee a response! And yes, dress is optional. Just slide your feet into those warm house slippers, grab a cup of coffee and drop me a line—I’m waiting.

You’ll find a complete list of all my tour stops here:

Look forward to hearing from you!

* * *
Marta Stephens writes crime mystery/suspense. Her books are available online at familiar shops such as all the Amazons, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million, and Powells. Other locations include, but are not limited to those listed on her website.THE DEVIL CAN WAIT (November 3, 2008)

SILENCED CRY (2007) Honorable Mention, 2008 New York Book Festival & Top Ten, 2007 Preditors and Editors Reader Poll (mystery)


Anonymous said...

To add to this Marta, saying I'm too busy (to comment) is one big cop-out. Look at all what you do yet you still go back and follow up on comments and you take time to write posts such as this. This is to help people. You know, I wish more authors would realize how important networking is (is there a networking class out there because there sure is a need for one?). And all it takes is a comment on a blog and whammo bammo the blog owner goes over to your blog and comments and whammo bammo again, a CONTACT through networking. And that's all there is to it! Follow up with this contact and you could have a friend for life and not only that it will lead to other things. This is getting long but bear with me. I found you on an Internet search. You hosted my authors for me, but not only did you not have to do that for me, you didn't have to be pleasant and oh so nice in the meantime, but you were. Well honey I'm not letting this person get away because these kind of people are a dime a dozen. So, the rules of the game for getting a free book tour is to leave a comment on one of our authors' blog stops which you did (and you only did this because you genuinely wanted to) and bingo bango, guess what. You were nice to me, I'm nice to you. That's networking. And gosh, I'm sorry to take up your whole blog today, but thank you, Marta. You are that dime in a dozen!

s.w. vaughn said...

Dear Marta,

You're crazy. :-)

Your friend who reads your post - and comments!

Kim Smith said...

I agree with all of the above (well, you are a writer, right? Insanity goes with the territory!) oh just kidding!!

I agree with the fact that you are a diamond. I am so proud to call you my friend, and to be able to tell people, "Oh? That book you have? Yes, my FRIEND Marta, oh she is just the sweetest old thing, and she's a fine writer. You should email her, because she loves to hear from her fans."

I am using your book bag for a purse M. My husband JUST noticed yesterday and asked me if I thought it was safe.

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, Marta's book is so good, aren't you afraid they'll steal the bag as a keepsake?"

See? You have a new convert in a man who DOESN'T EVEN READ!!!

Marta Stephens said...

Dorothy, take all the blog time you want! LOL

I've been networking for a few years, and have a million examples of how reaching out to one person has led to not one opportunity or contact but numerous. There's nothing genius about it.

Hmmm, networking classes? Sounds like an interesting prospect. Where do we start? Let’s put our heads together. Why I could do … Oop, hold on, Dorothy! I hear a knock on my door. Why! It's Mr. Opportunity.

See folks, THAT’S how things happen. ;)

Marta Stephens said...

Ah! Notes from my co-murderers!!

Sonya, would you have me any other way? LOL

Kim, "... old thing?" Notice what jumped out at me. LOL I love that I converted your hubby.

... and sometimes networking creates some amazing friendships. THANK YOU!!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Part of the process is connecting with authors you admire. It would be wonderful to know all of today's great writers, but sadly, there just isn't enough hours in the day.

But when you read good writings, I, for one, want everyone to know. Marta, Kim, SW & Aaron fell into that category. They're a notch above the rest. And I have a dang good ear, so I know.

If I can recommend a good book to somebody, written by someone I admire, then I end up feeling like what I do matters, and everybody wins.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Great piece, Marta. Perfect example: today I learned that Tremolo landed in the Top Ten Books for 2008 from Yolanda Renee's Book Talk radio show. I posted a nice article on Gather to celebrate, with a link to her site, and of course let her know. She responded immediately, with, "Now THIS is what networking's all about!" I had to laugh, because I was thinking the same thing. It happens multiple times per day with me, and I'm grateful for it. The thing to remember is to be genuine and truly reach out to those in the arena. Just like you do!

A. F. Stewart said...

How do you manage all your social networking? I just have trouble remembering which ones I signed up for, though I do try.

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Me, too, A.F. I have spreadsheets for everything else, and think it might be time to start one up for these sites. Some I just love (like Gather), but others I fear I neglect due to unfamiliarity negotiating the sites, or the sheer enormity of the task. ;o) Marta is my hero in this regard. I don't know how she does it all!

Anonymous said...

To all of you who have expressed awe at Marta's multi-tasking skill, there is nothing I can add. She is quite an amazing and diligent human being. But, perhaps because I'm lacking in many web-networking skills, Marta's sensational writing talents are what will forever hold me in awe. Marta, keep your books-a comin'.

Marta Stephens said...

Thank you Harry. I'm trying, I'm trying! ;)

Joylene, I'm right there with you. It's not often that a book grabs me and glues me to my chair until the last page. But when I do, I make sure everyone knows about it.

A.F., I'm a list maker and check things off daily. I'd be lost if I didn't.

Aaron, you're the only other person as "nuts" about networking as I am and I love it!