Here’s an interesting conundrum. You’re an aspiring author looking for new readers, and you see that JukePop has adopted a community feed where any comment made on a story will be visible to everyone visiting the site. It strikes you to leave a comment or two on some other author’s story asking for people to read your story. What can go wrong?

Well, for one, you probably won’t attract any readers. This sort of blatant advertising is considered intrusive; people coming to read another author’s work aren’t looking for that type of suggestions. The other thing that can go wrong is you might make a terrible first impression on the authors whose works you leave your comments on. Many authors tentatively await feedback from their readers—honest feedback—and when you deliver something that’s clearly just a plug, it upsets them. This is not the road to making readers, let alone valuable friends.

So what’s a better way to network on JP? How can you invite other members of the community to check out your work without making a bad first impression or being intrusive? The solution is actually pretty ironic.

Participate.

Participate in everything.

Go ahead. Read. Leave comments—and note the plural form. Follow the author. Bookshelf their work. Share chapter releases on your social networks. +Vote the chapters you really like. Do anything and everything to make your presence known, because presence = visibility, and visible authors get read.  Give first, then receive.

This isn’t just advice for networking on JukePop; this is networking advice in general. As popular twitter personality Ksenia Anske posted a while back on her blog, the only way to really build an online presence (and, we would add, build a network) is to be present; to relentlessly make yourself visible to the world. Take it further and paint yourself in a positive light by being open, reciprocal, and fun to be around, rather than just present for the perks that may come. People will be drawn to you naturally, and afterwards be drawn to your body of work.

Next time you comment on another author’s story asking them to “check out your serial,” don’t just leave that single remark and walk away. Read and comment on the whole story. The author will see that you are genuinely interested in their work, and they might just become interested in you.