One of the most non-threatening ways to network is to attend book events and author signings. If you’re sometimes shy like me, you can always head for the back row of chairs. Just showing up for other writers is an important way to support our industry. However, your long-term goal will be to find ways to actually connect with other readers and writers: the presenting author(s) and other audience members. And don’t forget that the event organizers are valuable allies as well. Sometimes the audience at an event will be huge—in that case, your best networking opportunity might be to connect with a book lover sitting nearby. But sometimes, the turnout will be low. As someone who has been featured at events where attendance was sometimes sparse, I can tell you this: I am endlessly grateful when readers take the time to stop by and chat (or even better, buy a book). And the event organizers may enjoy having another book lover to chat with, too. Always remember to think of this a chance to build relationships rather than pitch your own work. But it is also a way for you to start gathering ideas for how you might yourself present as a published author someday. And who knows—one of my writing students reported that she attended a book event where it turned out there were as many featured authors as attendees—and one author was so pleased that she stopped at his table that he passed along the name of his editor to her!