As an author these days, we are expected more and more to do our own marketing. Regardless of whether we have an agent or not. A lot of publishers expect authors to do their own marketing.
But networking isn’t just for that. It allows you to connect with other writers who are similar to you or write in the same genre. It is the same as being part of a community, and a community knows intimately just what its members go through.
Having a network is a good thing. It allows you to seek help, have questions answered. Or find useful pieces of information or insights that you would never have otherwise.
As for building an author platform, there are some things that you should have.
#1 Your Author Website
This is important. It doesn’t matter if it is a free blog, or it is a paid website. An author should have such a platform so that readers can read and contact you.
It allows you to showcase your books or any events that you may have upcoming. Or as a blog, anything that you’re interested in as a writer. Or advice you would give to new writers.
Your author website is a must for all new writers, to begin with. You can use something free and figure out where to go from there. I won’t really recommend at this stage, but perhaps later.
#2 Social Media
Social Media is important these days. But for me, writers mostly hang around Twitter and Facebook. Where the former with the hashtag #WritingCommunity would allow you to Tweets. And by far it is one of the most active communities that I have seen in writing. There are a lot of options and varieties as well, but Twitter in my experience has a large number of writers who are active.
As for Facebook, you can set up a Facebook page, join writing groups. There are many many groups for you to join and participate. Even to find beta readers, editors or any services which you would require. And Facebook Page allows you to market on Facebook as well.
#3 Email List
This is something that authors can utilize. Especially by listing any special promotions, announcements or release date of a book. Or if you have a blog, to give them updates on new posts that you have created.
An email list is still a powerful tool as it remains one of the ways that people communicate to this day. Even as social media exploded and it allows you to market more effectively as these people have trusted you with their email. That is actually something that not many would do.
And here are some of the ways that you can build up your following. It isn’t exhaustive and is based purely on my experience and knowledge. But it has worked well for me.