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Secrets of Highly Successful Writers: Part Two

In Part Two of our Secrets of Highly Successful Writers series (you can read Part One here), we’ll cover how highly successful writers network and engage with an audience.

Creating your network, as in any career, is critically important if you aspire to be an even more accomplished writer than you are today. At the beginning, this could mean reaching out to authors you admire—perhaps not the hugely bestselling authors, but those who might have the time to correspond and could be genuinely delighted to hear from you. One way to establish a connection is to invite that author to speak with your virtual book club or writing group—creating a win/win for both sides.

In time, when you keep the relationship warm, this author can become someone who might introduce you to their agent. Further down the road, this author could endorse your book or promote you on their social platforms.

It goes without saying that building a network requires you to tap into broader communities for support, critique, and beta readers. If you’re currently looking to join a writing community, we recommend checking out this list and this list.

Observing how writers connect with other writers, we’ve noticed that they tend to be truly supportive of one another. Agents and publishers care about who’s in your network almost as much as they care about the size of your audience.

Here’s something else you may find surprising: the most successful writers we’ve worked with actually enjoy interacting with fans. They don’t outsource all social media efforts; they’re often the ones at the helm. Using social media as a forum for authentic and frequent engagement, the most successful writers have a deep sense of their audience’s needs and what resonates with them. The insights writers glean from audience engagement tends to inform their writing work.

As a few specific ideas for interacting and thereby growing your audience:

  • Nonfiction writers often see value in building an email list and sending regular newsletters 
  • Fiction writers will connect with fans on Instagram and Goodreads, and offer book club visits for free
  • All successful writers understand that different audiences prefer to consume content in different ways. Maybe your content resonates better in video format than it does in blog format. One of our authors, Cait Flanders, had huge success creating an online budget planner. Chris Bailey has a podcast version of his newsletter, for those who prefer listening vs. reading

Always consider what kind of “gifts” you can give your audience to satisfy their desire for immediate gratification, especially as you’re writing your next book.

In our third and final installment of this series, we’re excited to share insights from some of our own authors on how they balance writing and editing alongside their other numerous responsibilities. You can find Secrets of Highly Successful Writers: Part Three here!