Many bestselling authors attribute their success to their local following, or key members of their community who advocated for them. We also know that networking is one of the best ways to get in the front of teachers’ minds when they consider authors for school visits, and when people ask the question: do you know any local authors?
Whether you are getting involved with the celebrations for the Coronation or simply want to raise your profile in the local area, these ideas will get you started. Pick one to do today, save the list and make a note to come back and do another tomorrow – and the next day …
1. Add your home town or county to your bio – that’s your social media bios and your website – so that you come up in searches of the local area.
2. Use local hashtags in your posts. Lots of people follow these and it enables you to find other people locally, too.
3. Visit your nearest library and introduce yourself to the manager. Have a chat and ask whether they know any other local authors. Do the same at other libraries in your area. If you live close to the county border, include the neighbouring county in your visits.
4. When did you last visit the community centre or town hall? Do you know where it is? Find it and take a look at what’s going on there. Are there toddler events where you could go and read your book? Could you join the Cubs or Brownies to talk to them about creative writing or illustrating? What is available for teens? What adult groups are running? Can you lend a hand?
5. Connect with local writing groups to meet other authors. You don’t have to commit, but you can still network and support their work.
6. You’ll like this one: visit your local bookstores! These include the ones you don’t usually visit. Look on the map for a seven-mile radius from your home – is there anywhere you’ve missed? Don’t forget to go over the county border.
7. Think of all the places that you frequent in your local community – do they know that you are an author? Drop it into conversation or wear your branded hoodie and take your branded water bottle next time you go.
8. Now think of all the places that you don’t go – consider connecting with them or going with a friend. Network with people who have a wider reach, such as school governors, politicians, the mayor and local branches of national organisations.
9. Are you a member of a local book club or writer-related association? Could you pick one to join for a year and see where it takes you? Many attract other authors as speakers and might have opportunities for you. Don’t just look for monetary value from these as the community is just as valuable.
10. Attend the events of other local authors. Their audience is your audience (in terms of local connection). Support them and learn from them.
The Coronation is an ideal opportunity to ‘think local’ so that you are ready to get visible and involved with your local audience. And if you’re not UK-based, use this to grow your British fanbase.
Your local community is gold. Get it onside and it will champion you every step of the way.