When fellow writers chat with us at conferences or Mentors for Rent clients come to us with questions, one of the topics that often comes up is networking. A lot of people see networking as a dirty word–a schmoozy practice for slimy salespeople looking to close a deal.
But that’s not what networking is. Networking is simply connecting with other people who share the same passion you do–in this case, writing for kids. We like to picture networking as building yourself a safety net. Writing can be a little bit lonely and a little bit scary. But when you have a safety net, built through networking, you have people you can ask questions (hey, do you know an editor at Random House who likes quirky picture books?) or commiserate with (yep, 8 months and still no reply) or celebrate with (book launch party this weekend!).
Even though networking is about building authentic relationships, not reciting your elevator pitch to anyone in a 10-mile radius, it can definitely lead to concrete results. Lisa landed her agent through networking. Many of Laura’s speaking invitations have come from networking. Once you have built those authentic relationships, people are willing to help you meet your writing goals.
So in the next couple of months, we’re going to share a couple of networking tips each week. We’ll try to be practical and unlock some of the mysteries of networking–it’s not ALL that intimidating once you get used to it. Make sure you sign up to follow this blog via email by clicking on the button in the right sidebar. We don’t want you to miss a single tip!
On any of our tips posts, including this one, feel free to leave a networking question in the Comments. We’ll gather them up and try to address them in future posts.