Looking back over 2019, one of the key new initiatives in our business was launching our networking events for local indie authors. With the mindset that networking simply involves having conversations, and making connections and building rapport with other like-minded people, we sought to create the environment for this ‘magic’ to occur. During the course of the year, we hosted three author networking events: the first one was held at The Talking Toucan café in New Farm and the other two took place at Paper Moon Functions and Coffee House in Annerley.
Our first networking event
In February, one of our referral partners – Simone Feiler from Brisbane Audiobook Productions – shared her expertise about audiobooks. The air conditioner at The Talking Toucan Café struggled to work properly with the big crowd that showed up for Simone’s presentation but everyone seemed to have a great time and learnt a lot about this increasingly popular publishing format.
Our second networking event
For our second author networking event, we relocated to a larger venue – Paper Moon Functions and Coffee House – a funky space at Annerley where twenty or so indie authors gathered to discuss all things self publishing. (We heard on the grapevine that this cafe was used as a set for the locally produced television series, Harrow.)
Russell Perry from Australian Authors Marketplace was our guest speaker at this event and he presented us with some valuable tips on book marketing. Russell also provided some background information about his centralised website where Australian writers can display and market their books to potential readers. With a background in marketing and an indie author himself, Russell has many ideas to help strike that illusive target that every author aims for – book sales. The lively Q&A session that followed his presentation could have continued on all night.
But we also had to make some time available for Fluffy the Story Dog and his devoted human, Sallyanne, who volunteer their time to the charity, Story Dogs. Sallyanne and Fluffy visit local primary schools to help children who are struggling with reading. Sallyanne has even taught Fluffy how to look like he’s reading a book. Cute factor overload!
Our third networking event
In September, we presented a panel discussion, answering questions relevant to our individual areas of expertise. Jacki Ferro did a wonderful job as MC, using her ‘special hat’ to select questions for the panel that our guests had written on arrival. Once again, all of the attendees were very interested to hear about the information we had to share and we could have talked all night.
What are the advantages of attending networking events?
For people who work from home in a creative (but solitary) occupation, such as writing, editing, graphic design, illustrating etc, there are many benefits to be gained from mixing with other like-minded professionals.
Keeping abreast of new trends
If you are a freelancer or solo business owner, it’s easy to become set in your ways and be oblivious regarding what’s happening in your profession out in the ‘real’ world. Of course, the internet is a fantastic resource to help you keep up to date, but being able to hear first hand about changes and innovations, and discuss issues directly with others is more immediate and energising. Networking provides opportunities for you to ask questions and receive feedback. Discussing other points of view really expands your knowledge base, and allows you to see things from a broader perspective. Learning from other’s ‘best practice’ approaches will save you time, energy and resources in the long run.
How many times have you felt as though your head would explode because it’s so full of creative ideas? Having someone to discuss your thoughts with can help you prioritise and provide you with the headspace required to act on those ideas. One sure way to get your creative juices flowing is to take the time out from your daily routine and speak with others face-to-face.
Everyone is aware of the health benefits of socialising with others. We all need balance in our lives between work and play. Making new friends and socialising is an important aspect of our human nature. Developing new relationships leads to higher self-esteem and confidence. By taking the initial steps to connect to other people, your confidence will continue to grow as you become more comfortable networking with others. Confidence draws people to you and opens up the opportunity to find out about new information for yourself and share information with others.
Sharing information relevant to your industry
Hearing first-hand accounts from our colleagues, about how they have overcome problems or achieved success, helps us in our own businesses. As mentioned earlier, selling books needs to be treated as a business. Networking provides a way to learn from the mistakes or achievements of others.
The power of ‘word of mouth’
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This old chestnut may not be fair but, unfortunately, it’s true. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool for any business or creative pursuit. While writing and self-publishing a book is commendable and exciting, it is just the start of a great deal more hard work. You have to make sure people know about it. Take every opportunity to spruik about your book. You never know who will be listening and who they might know. When opportunity ‘knocks’ you want to be in a position to take advantage of it. Establishing a wide network of people who you’re connected with may be the difference in seizing the moment or missing out completely.
Helping writers to connect with others
The team at Brisbane Self Publishing Service have directly experienced how mixing with other like-minded professionals has benefited our own creativity, productivity and personal wellbeing. So we decided to create a hub for other local creatives to share ideas, information and their experiences during their self-publishing journey. As well as holding author networking events, we’ve created a closed Facebook group called Brisbane Authors Networking Group (BANG!). In this group, members can ask questions, post helpful links, share news about their books, and generally connect with each other. If you’re on Facebook, please join us at BANG: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BrisbaneAuthorsNetworking/
And watch this space for more ideas from Brisbane Self Publishing Service in 2020 as we work to help authors achieve their publishing goals.