How to network without being creepy in five simple steps

I know how hard it is to contain your excitement with you go to a conference and see an agent or an editor that you think would love your story. But the last thing you should do is follow them into the toilet and shove a USB stick under the cubicle door that has your manuscript on it. Not only is it gross and unhygienic, but creepy as well.

It can be so hard to get noticed and build a profile for yourself, but here’s some tips on networking in the publishing industry without coming off like a stalker.

1. Be social on social media: Retweet things, reply to people, strike up conversations (this does not mean: “Can I send you my MS), and follow great #hashtags.
2. Volunteer for stuff: Interning is a volunteer position, but it’s great to have on your resume and can introduce you to a lot of great people in the industry. There may be other volunteer opportunities that you can assist with, like competitions. You might also find yourself some Betas this way. Keeping an eye out on social media is the best way to find out about opportunities.
3. Create opportunities: Host competitions or workshops yourself. Sometimes this can be as easy as allowing people to use your blog as a feedback forum for pitch competitions. You can always approach competition coordinators about hosting a feedback forum for their specific competition (Hint: Pitch Madness is coming up and writer peeps need to be working on their pitches).
4. Allow other people to have guest spots on your blog: share the love and you may get some in return.
5. Think before you post: Pretty simple, but harder than you may think as often writers are impulsive people. You might think that you and someone like Courtney Summers are writing soulmates, but telling her that on social media just might freak her out. We have wild imaginations as writers and it’s easy to play out scenarios in your head, but keep your interactions grounded in reality. Also, remember the publishing world is a really small place and your actions…even subtweets…have the potential to tarnish your reputation. Agents could very well be stalking you, so best not to bash other authors or make claims about how no-one understands your genius.

So that’s some pretty simple starting points on how to network without being creepy. If you have any hints of your own to add pop them in the comments.

Sharon JohnstonThis post was written by S.M. Johnston.


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