Networking is important in so many industries, but it is one of the keys to success in the publishing industry. It can actually make you write better, land an agent, get a publishing contract and sell your book.
Of course you need the natural talent to start off with, but mixing with other authors can help you get feedback on your work and allow you to improve it. You can go to local writers groups, but if there’s none in your local area then you can look online. Places like Wattpad, Figment and Movella are the perfect place to see if you can get some feedback on your stories. There’s also CPSeek that’s specifically about pairing writers together as critique partners.
I was invited to be part of the group blog YAtopia by friends I met on a writers’ site and I met my Aussie Owned and Read blogging friends via twitter and pitch contests.
Other great places to network online are on social media sites, particularly Twitter. So many writers are there generously sharing their knowledge. It’s where I met my friend Brenda Drake. I now am part of her pitching competitions as a host. That might not seem like a huge achievement, but it has significantly raised my profile online. This is something that agents are looking for – evidence that you know how to promote yourself and connect with potential readers.
Agents and editors make themselves available at conferences and online. Take advantage of this opportunity (but not in a creepy stalkerish way, or a over the top fan girl/guy way) and talk to them about what they’re looking for. They often share their wish lists and you can get an idea if they are what you are looking for in an agent/editor. Hashtags on Twitter like #askagent and #askeditor are direct opportunities for you to get inside publishing professionals heads. Just don’t pitch to them on Twitter unless they invite you to.
And it can lead to jobs! I met the team at Entranced Publishing through YAtopia and online. One thing lead to another and I ended up being asked to be their Marketing Director. From there I needed to develop the marketing team and most of the people I hired were people to answered my tweets about job vacancy. And soon Entranced will be undertaking Twitter Pitch Parties exclusively for its followers each Friday in March and April using the hash tag #FridayFrenzy.
There are so many opportunities out there. It’s up to you to grab them and be part of the networking opportunities that are out there.