Without paying for them?
Without befriending sketchy contacts on Facebook who met you through writers groups who keep sending you creepy winking faces over messenger? (Wait, is this just me?)
I acquired 1,000 contacts in about nine days, perhaps dedicating an hour each day of effort to the networking on ... no, not Facebook.
What? Hope, you're a YA author in college, what are you doing on LinkedIn? Why aren't you being an irresponsible 21-year-old? Besides praying and hoping for a chance at a job after this semester, this is why:
Facebook is saturated with authors. Although this can have benefits such as writing groups 10K strong, that also means a lot of slogging through book promotions and dozens of posts on one group alone. It's difficult to acquire any contacts except through:
1) Being one of (sometimes literally) hundreds to comment on a post and hoping your answer will establish you as an expert. And if you post something, you might get lost in the shuffle.
2) Doing a like for like. Scratch my page's back, I'll scratch yours. Except, you have no control over who wants to participate. What if you're a children's author and an erotica author likes your page. Now what?
Let's be honest, the first thing an author friend or publisher recommended we do was to build our contact list and brand through Facebook. All well-intended. Facebook tends to drive the most people to Amazon links on the social media platforms (for instance, Twitter, although fun, is far less effective).
But, every author went into networking with this plan. So what do we have? An overabundance of authors trying to get likes on Facebook.
I was one of them.
My client suggested a different marketing method that had proved effective for her. Connecting with writers, editors, and publishing professionals on LinkedIn.
The plan was simple.
Step One: Find industry professionals. Whether they excelled in blogging, editing, or journalism. (I did toss a few historians in there because I'm a nerd)
Step Two: Ask them to connect.
Step Three: Thank them once they do connect.
It lead to some freelance work, interviews, as well as access to some amazing content and conversations. (Also, warning, like Facebook, it lead to some creepy messages over the LinkedIn version of Messenger). I can now keep up with professionals in the industry, and several have even taken a peek at this little blog. I feel humbled and honored to be able to meet so many people through this network and highly encourage authors to test the waters with LinkedIn. If Pinterest works better, or any other medium, definitely try that and post about your success.
But for goodness sake. If Facebook is not tried and true for you, give other platforms a shot. You may just find the dream connection, or worst case, an interesting story to tell from the weird messages you received.