Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Networking...can we be friends?

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Not my favorite word in the dictionary. In fact it would probably rate in the bottom five percent of my least favorite words (If I were to actually compile a list like that, which trust me despite the fact I love lists…I don’t like them that much).

But it’s something that’s important in every business.

For some people it comes naturally. They just randomly talk to strangers who happen to be neighbors to the best friend of the cousin of Suzy Q, who just happens to be a big shot in the business you work in…and magically you’ve made contacts. Bravo. Good for you. The network gods must love you.

For the rest of us, like I mentioned last week it’s hard to talk about what we do. How do you casually bring up that you brainstorm story ideas all day and constantly work with trying to figure out where commas go in sentences? Especially if you are a secret writer?

In publishing, networking might not be as important for the writer, since you can blindly submit your query letters into the slush pile of many agents and editors. And it’s like you are letter-networking, which can be just as effective. Then you can get an agent who’s done most of the networking for you and already has great contacts with lots of editors. Problem solved. And having a professional on your side seems much more appealing than having your friends and family pimp you out, which seems to be happening with me lately and everyone and their brother is trying to find me a job (love you family!)

But despite getting an agent, which is one of the best networking tools you can have, you still need to network on some level. To get publicity for your books, to meet critique partners, to get reviewers to talk about your book, etc. And also without friends in this business it can get pretty lonely.

Most of us network at writing conferences and online—on blogs, in writer forums, facebook, etc—without even realizing we are making friends that can help us with our own writing: either through critiques, making connections with other writers, or other means.

Now that I think about it, networking has never been easier than it is now through the Internet. Not only do you not have to think of a conversation starter, but you can take a few minutes to come up with a witty response to someone’s blog or forum post. So maybe networking isn’t such a bad word after all. Who knows one of those times could pay off and be just the edge to break you in! Either that or Great Aunt Cindy is going to talk to the right person one of these days!

--Emily, Miss Querylicious


Summer Ross said...

your are very right, networking opens doors, and right now the internet and its many valued ways to network makes this easier, but also one must becareful of the presence they give online because when they are looked at- they are looked at for online presence as well...

DeenaML said...

It can make you feel accomplished if you "network" some new contacts even if you accomplish nothing else! :)

Kate Fall said...

I need to be better at letter-networking and get some queries in front of editors. I love that new word, by the way. Look at me, I'm discussing letter-networking!