Why network at all?
Building a group of likeminded people around you can help with motivation and overcoming crashes in confidence. It can also keep you up to date with what’s happening. Through your network, you will find out about events, resources, publication outlets, calls for submissions, competitions, training and advice. What’s more, when you do publish a book, you have a tribe of supporters to help with publicity.
How to network?
- Get up! Dress up! Show up! Attend writerly events, eg. Novel Nights – online writing events and masterclasses for writers. Talk to people at the event, asking about a person’s writing is usually a good opener. Volunteer as a reader, or get involved in other ways, such as co-hosting, selling tickets, publicity, photography, reviews.
- Say ‘Yes’ to every opportunity. As people get to know you as a active participant in the writing community, you will find more opportunities come your way.
- Make your own opportunities: get together with a friend to record an author to author interview. Offer to interview other writers. Make use of different media, eg. live, online, vodcasts, podcasts, book reviews.
- Join/set-up a Write Club which meets regularly. With Zoom and other web conferencing platforms, members need not be local. You may want to make it form- or genre-specific. Your write club will be your core tribe and will provide the support and motivation to keep writing.
- Join a society or group: there are many genre-specific writing societies around. For more general groups, try Paper Nations. A creative writing incubator working to make Writing for All, Literature Works SW – Nurturing literature development South West England, business networks such as Come Network with Me (Sarah Cook) or Alliance of Independent Authors: Association For Self-Publishing Authors (allianceindependentauthors.org) for business support.
- Use social media: many Facebook and Goodreads groups are for writers. Find writers of the same genre by Twitter #hashtags. If you meet a potential connection at an event, follow them to keep the connection open. Be sociable, ease off the book promos.
- Have your elevator pitch primed at all times.
- If you do happen across an agent, have some opening questions ready: what are you looking for in submissions?
- Get some business cards printed: avoid a gloss finish, so your contact can make smudge-free notes
A final tip: always acknowledge the help others give. With this in mind, I’d like to thank my network who gave suggestions for this blog. In particular, thanks to Callie, Elizabeth, Ali, Celia, Grace and Nina.
‘Get up! Dress up! Show up!’ was coined by designer Rodney Fitch.
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Do you have any tips?
If so, add it in the comment section below.