LinkedIn is an underrated method of meeting other authors. It’s a great space for keeping up with author events and upcoming book releases. It comes highly recommended by business authors. Not to mention, LinkedIn makes adding someone to your network as simple as the click of a button. But truly making and maintaining a connection can be a bit trickier. Here are some tips to help you make LinkedIn connections that last.
Optimize Your Profile
A strong profile page can establish a narrative of who you are as an author for your potential network of connections. Use a professional headshot or a picture of your book as your profile photo. Do not be afraid to humble-brag a bit in your bio and include any details about your authorial career. Experiment with your title, and list any other achievements you would like to note. Posting about speaking engagements, book releases, and other events can also make your profile look more robust and up-to-date.
For more tips on how to tell your author story on LinkedIn, check out this popular article from 2019: Maximizing Your Author Presence on LinkedIn.
Send a Personal Message
Using the search features, you might find an author you would love to add to your network. It’s certainly easy to send a connection request and forget about it—but challenge yourself to send a message along with that request to open up a conversation. Let them know if you are familiar with their work, or if you have mutual connections. Mention any author groups you are both part of or ones they may be interested in joining (or any that they are part of that you would like to join). There’s no need to write something long, but a personal message can help you stand out among their other connection requests.
Organize a “Coffee Chat”
Bringing the chat from direct messaging to a virtual call is a great way to stay fresh in someone’s mind. Ask the author if they would be available for a call on Zoom or Google Meets. A short time commitment—fifteen to thirty minutes—is a great place to start; if the conversation flows, you can extend the time or organize another chat. Use this as an opportunity to get to know them personally, and to establish more about who you are as an author as well.
Engage, Engage, Engage
On social media, engagement is everything. It’s a great way to show your support for other authors, and a notification that you interacted with their post acts as a reminder that you are an active member of their community. If your author network posts frequently on their LinkedIn pages, show your enthusiasm with likes or comments. Repost if you know there are others in your network who may be interested in what they shared. Though these may seem like small gestures, they can go a long way toward deepening your connections.
A great rule of thumb is to remember that everyone should benefit from networking. Think of ways that you can assist another author with making new connections. If they remind you of someone else in your network, ask them if they would like you to organize a chat. If they are researching a future book, see if any of your connections would make a great interviewee. If you are unsure what may be helpful (and you are comfortable doing so), offer them the opportunity to look through your LinkedIn connections and to let you know if there is someone in your network they would like to be introduced to.
When it comes to networking, especially through LinkedIn, remember that everyone has something special to offer. Don’t be afraid to make an unexpected connection or talk to authors at various career stages, in other genres, and of differing interests. You’ll be surprised how far some of these connections might take you.
Jacky Bethea is the Associate, Author Development for Penguin Random House.