Build Your Author Life BEFORE Your Book Release

Donna Galanti is BACK, people! She’s here to day to give some very thorough tips on connecting with other authors and building a community of writers before a book’s release. Get ready to hit that “Bookmark” button, because there’s some truly helpful stuff here :).

As writers, the rejection never ends with queries, book proposals, editor notes, or bad reviews. But there is a key to creating and sustaining an author life while surviving endless rejection: build a support community. We can write alone, but it’s very hard to get published (or succeed) alone.

To enhance success, we can build the foundation before we’re published, just like the railway built to connect Vienna and Venice. It was built before any train could travel up such a steep grade. A feat of civil engineering that took 20,000 people!

You won’t need 20,000 people, but you will need a few, along with these 3 steps:

Put Yourself Out There (Get Out of Your Writer’s Cave!)

As authors we get out of our comfort zone when we write, but we must also publicly get out of our comfort zone. Once your book releases, participate in conferences, panels, guest blogs, or school visits. Each YES will build your confidence and community connections.

How to start? Be active in genre-based writer organizations. Attend meetups and make friends with industry peers. Engage with co-author blogs. Follow and connect with authors you admire. Create a local writer’s group. I meet weekly with a writer’s group where we write and share advice. We are one brain collective with celebrated successes, partly through our connections.


  • Create a business card to exchange at meetups so you can connect with others online.
  • Volunteer within writer organizations for the opportunity to work with agents, editors, authors, and writers. My first volunteer role was doing social media for International Thriller Writers Organization. I’m now a contributing editor for their Big Thrill. Through this, I’ve befriended authors, many who’ve blurbed my books.

Rookie Mistakes:

  • Thinking you need to know what you’re doing before you say yes (saying YES will force you to learn and increase your confidence).
  • Believing that veteran authors aren’t open to helping new authors (they were first-time authors once).
  • Asking for advice or help before establishing a relationship (be patient—it’s a long-term gig).
  • Adding new connections to groups without asking.
  • Not mentioning how you met in your friend request.

Connect with Readers Before Your Book Comes Out!

Courtesy: Pixabay

Readers are your friends. Follow bloggers and book tubers in your genre. They’re a direct line to your readers. Build a connection with them so when your book releases they are first in line for your review request and are willing to say “Yes!”

How to start? Run a Google search for “book bloggers” plus your genre/age-range. This will give you a list of potential book bloggers to contact. To find ideal book reviewers, first identify any authors who write books similar to yours. Search the author’s name plus “review” to find reviewers who might be interested in your story.


  • Connecting now with book bloggers improves your chances of getting best-fit reviewers later. Invite them to be interviewed on your blog. Organize them in a Twitter list to easily engage.
  • Clean out your bookshelves and hold a book-grab Rafflecopter contest for books within your genre. Promote and provide extra entries if entrants follow you on social media, your blog, or newsletter, thereby increasing your best-fit reader audience.
  • Connect with other debuts. Each year, debuts band together to help cross promote their books to readers. To find likely partners, search for “debut author” plus the year your book releases.

Rookie Mistakes:

  • Mass emailing book reviewers about your book (personalize each one)
  • Not following the reviewer’s blog, not commenting on posts, and expecting them to buy your book.
  • Not offering incentives along with your review request (they could accept a guest post/giveaway if not a review).

For more help, try: 5 Steps To Finding Your Ideal Book Audience

Position Yourself as an Expert (Share What You Know)

You may be saying, “I’m no expert,” but you are! You can talk about writing to writers by covering topics like good revision tips, sharing your publishing journey, and discussing the benefits of attending a conference. But also talk to your readership about fiction: where your ideas come from, creating characters, research, etc. Bonus: Giving a talk or being on someone else’s blog instantly positions you as an expert!

How to start? With all of those community connections you made in step #1! If a new contact loves to share quality content, invite them as a guest on your blog (I started my blog with writer/author interviews). With book bloggers, share a book excerpt and include a swag giveaway to gain pre-orders. Introduce yourself in person to your independent bookstore and offer them a free copy (or ARC) of your book to encourage them to carry it. Schedule a book launch with them, or pitch doing a workshop for readers or writers in-store. Gain speaking experience by asking your writer organization (and other local ones) if you can speak at their monthly meetings.


  • For guest posts, pitch with your article idea and why it’s a good fit, your bio, and where you’ve blogged before. Ask an open-ended question at the end of your guest post to engage readers. Post your guest post links on your site for ‘evergreen’ content’. Re-share your guest posts if they contain timeless content. Create a “cheat sheet” of your posts/guest posts, schedule them on Twitter in rotation, and tag the blogger/guest in it. This extends goodwill, reinforcing your connection.
  • To prepare for an in-person audience, take notes at other presentations you’ve attended. Did they have a handout, a PowerPoint presentation, or exercise? Was it quality information in a manageable chunk? Mimic what worked for you as an attendee so you can deliver your own passionate, quality presentation. Provide a survey to your audience, gather emails for your newsletter, and follow up with positive responses to request a testimonial.

Rookie Mistakes:

  • Not following the guidelines for the blog you’re guest posting on, not engaging in comments, not sharing on social media, and not thanking the host for having you on as a guest.
  • Not gathering names and emails from your in-person audience to build your email list.

For more help, try: Need Online Exposure? Asking Bloggers For Help

Final words. Think “community” for everything you do as an author and it will strengthen and sustain your author foundation. Support the writers and readers you meet! Promote their books and their successes. In turn they will support, advise, and promote you – and help you overcome that next rejection lurking in the wings.

What has your experience been in building an author life? Do you have any tips for us? Have you had success in building a support community or are you still struggling? What’s the #1 thing you’d like to know about building an author life?

Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy (Imajin Books) and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series (Month9Books). Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at and She can also be found on TwitterFacebook, and Goodreads.







Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Marketing, Platform, Promotion, Social Networking. Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Build Your Author Life BEFORE Your Book Release

  1. Slightly less daunting now. I’ll take a breath and recover my sense of humor. Thank you.

  2. Lisa Papp says:

    Hi Donna,
    You have a way of taking something very complicated and breaking it into manageable steps. Even the most nervous author can ‘take one bite at a time’ with this advice and make real progress. Enjoyed all of it. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Pingback: #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Resources RoundUp - Donna Galanti - mystery, magic and mayhem for all ages

  4. Mary Van Everbroeck says:

    Hi Donna. Hi Becca. I really enjoyed your Post. Quite overwhelming on first read, which I attribute to being brand new at learning to write fiction. If and when I reach this stage I have saved this information much like a treasured resource. Thank you both for taking the time to share your knowledge, and wisdom.

    • Mary, congrats on entering the writing world! And no need to feel overwhelmed. This journey is ongoing – slow and steady wins the day 🙂 . Definitely start with Step #1 and find writers to connect with and a local writing organization to join. Just doing that will help you learn so much from a giant collective of people you meet. Before you know it, you will have a toolbox of knowledge and friends to rely on for support and advice. Best of luck to you!

  5. What a thorough and well written post! You included all the tips (and more) that I was thinking of when I saw the title. It was hard starting off as a writer, and getting this kind of advice will help new writers get started on the right path. 🙂

    • Thanks Stephanie! I vividly remember coming out of my writing cave after writing my first book and thinking “Now what do I do?” I didn’t know any writers or writing organizations at all. I threw myself into it and learned fast. It was scary but worth it! Getting out of your comfort zone can bring great rewards – and I’ve found there is such a camaraderie and community amongst writers. We are truly all in it together. I think it’s one of a few fields where age truly doesn’t matter – from 17 to 77. We can all learn from one another and come together with our mutual passion of writing!

  6. J. says:

    Great aricle, thank you! this I can do. 😀 So many of these kind of articles want you to do 50000 different things and it makes my head spin. This is way more doable.

    • Thanks J.! You address a big concern I hear of new writers – how overwhelming it can all be to create a platform and community. Doing it in manageable chunks over a period of time can definitely make it less overwhelming!

  7. This is great, Donna! You leave no stone unturned. Love the “Rookie Mistakes”—additional food for thought!

    • Thanks Kathryn! I know it’s helpful for me to learn from mistakes others have made so I can build a stronger foundation from the beginning based on their advice. In this business, there are always new things to learn with new platforms and processes!

  8. Tori Bond says:

    Hi Donna,
    I so agree with you about the importance of community. Not only have I learned a ton from my fellow writers in my writing group, but having the moral support from fellow writers when the writing isn’t going well or when I get a another rejection is so key to helping me get over the rough spots and keep on writing.

  9. Great advice here, Donna. Community really is everything, and learning how to reach our readers is a universal challenge. It’s good to get a window into your own journey & this advice is terrific. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Angela! I often think it must have been so much more difficult decades ago to build a wide community network and break through publishing obstacles, but then writers back then must have also had more time to write. 🙂

      I think community can helps us overcome the ongoing changes we must face as writers too, as we help guide each other through new challenges that come along – sometimes at lightning speed!

  10. Kate Brandes says:

    As a debut author, I’m so grateful for this advice! Thank you, Donna! My favorite piece: say “Yes”, even if it’s something completely new. All of these suggestions also help build a writer’s community, which has been the single most helpful thing to me as a writer. Looking forward to more posts from you!

    • Kate, glad this resonated with you! Good luck to you as your book releases soon. I love the saying “yes” part before you know completely how to build it. I’ve challenged myself with this many times (and facing the fear of the unknown) but have added so much to my writer toolbox – like teaching at conferences and doing school visits. Something I was once afraid of -and now really enjoy engaging with people in these formats!

  11. Great tips! Thanks for the awesome advice.

  12. Thanks for sharing. Very informative.

  13. Pingback: Build the Author Life You Seek & Empower Kids! - Donna Galanti - mystery, magic and mayhem for all ages

  14. Appreciate the insights!

  15. Such great ideas here Donna, and love how you broke everything down into their respective sections (tips, rookie mistakes, etc.) so that authors can easily see what to do (and not to do).

    • Glad the structure worked for you Janice! Stepping into an author role (and life) can feel so overwhelming so I hope simplifying it can make it seem manageable. One thing at a time 🙂

  16. Great post filled with great advice, Becca. I especially liked the advice on connecting with book reviewers. It’s so important. And offering a giveaway can be a great marketing tool to get a post on the blog and increase the chances the blogger’s followers will read the post

    • Thanks for stopping by Natalie! Book reviewers are our friends and love to promote authors and books. It’s wonderful to connect and maintain these relationships and call on them again when you have new books come out.

  17. Thanks so much for having me back on today Becca and Angela! I love sharing what I’ve learned over the last 5 years since my debut novel came out. I’d love to hear other tips by writers on what may have worked for them! Happy writing and publishing to all 🙂 .

    • I’m so glad you’re here sharing your knowledge with us. Finding our audience and selling our books is something I think we all struggle with on some level. So your information—especially broken down as it is into manageable bites—is super helpful!

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