Thursday, May 20, 2010
Now, first I want to make it plain, that I am not published. I don't have a contract and I don't have an agent, but what I do have are friends and my own personality. So take it with a grain of salt and hopefully the realizations I have learned lately will be an encouragement for you. : )
First of all what is networking? It is surrounding yourself with a group of contacts in your area of expertise that can help and support you and give you a boost up that ever growing ladder of publication we all long to climb. They are the ones that help get your foot in the door, the ones that endorse, the ones that do battle with editors and agents to get you rolling.
But how do you get them? Or you might even be asking yourself, "Oh, publication is so far away, I don't need to do that!"
But I don't think there is never a better time than the present. And that frankly is what used to scare me so much. No longer.
I am very much a people person and love to make friends. I love to surround myself with godly people and get to know each and every one.
Whenever I win a book I always try to get a thank you back to the author. Out of those contacts based purely on my love for their fiction, have grown some wonderful friendships. We have grown familiar of each other through our blogs and emails. Familiar enough that I would be comfortable emailing these wonderful ladies and maybe someday asking them to endorse my book.
Now, before you get me wrong, I DO NOT email authors with motives of someday getting something in return. I do it because I want to see the authors supported and let them know just how much I value them. And in the process I have been blessed with some pretty incredible correspondence.
So networking tip #1: spend some time getting to know your favorite authors. Even if NOTHING comes of it than a chance to support them, you are building a relationship that you may someday look back on as a starting point for your own writing. Generally speaking if you read an author's work, you would like to write like them, to a certain extent.
Writing for Christ If God willing I get a book published someday, they will be the first people I will present my book to. And many of my review friends will get a book to review.
So networking tip #2: develop a readership with blogging. You can do that by blogging a lot and on subjects dear to your heart and readers. Readers will see your passion on the screen and will most likely return for more.
But Chip and Susie now both associate my name and my face and my writing abilities (oh scary thought). I have met Chip, spoken with him and in doing that I have gotten my foot wedged a tiny bit in the door. Because one of their requirements at MacGregor Literay Agency is before they even think about representing you, they want to have met you personally or have been recommended.
So, networking tip #3: meet agents and editors just for the sake of meeting them. Shake their hand, talk, visit, eat breakfast with them : ), but generally be friendly and yourself. It's not hard and it doesn't hardly take any energy.
When this blog was started, Pepper was the one to email me. She was so much braver than I to just email a complete stranger out of the blue (well, okay I knew she would email after chatting on her blog) but she was networking, getting to know other writers and gaining friends on this journey of learning. I have been blessed by her stepping out in faith and blessed abundantly with four lovely ladies who also write here that are willing to put up with me. : )
When I started blogging, I had no idea that in less than a year, God would bless me with 138 followers! But they are getting to know me, I them, and in the end that could prove so very useful. If not, the journey has been fantastic anyway!
That class in April was so very helpful, and maybe someday will prove profitable too. When I finally have a completed novel, I might be able to walk up to Chip and go, "will you read this?" or "can I tell you about this story?" and he might be more willing to sit down and visit than if I were a complete stranger. If not, you know what, it was pretty neat to meet one of the top guns in the industry. : )
So, go forth and network! Don't be petrified, it's really a lot easier than it sounds!
Have any other ideas for me? I would love to chat more with you in the comment section. : )