Remember how we’ve said networking is a relationship? It’s not just you, asking for information or contacts from other people! You have to bring something to the table, too. Maybe you’re an unpublished writer, and you’re thinking you don’t HAVE anything to bring to the table. But that’s not true. Here are some great things you might have to offer. These are things I’ve done myself or have seen other unpublished or not-much-published writers do in generous ways that make them welcome in the writing world.
- Keep up with some segment of the kidlit world so that you can offer info when that topic comes up: the latest awards, new poetry books, which editor has moved where, whatever. You don’t have to know everything! But you do have to know something!
- Be a sharer. Take pictures and share them online. Or share books you admire online.
- Be a connector. Introduce people to each other.
- Offer resources. If you know a writer you want to connect with is passionate about, say, Amish culture, send her that cool article you just read in a magazine.
- Answer questions other writers have about research, etc. Remember, an expert is just someone who knows a little bit more than someone else. Even if you’re unpublished, but you’re actively submitting to publishers, you have a lot of info you can offer to writers just starting out.
- Offer to assist a writer in a session at a conference or other event. You could pass items out, display props, etc.
These are just a few possibilities. The point is, when you know what it is YOU have to offer someone else, whether it’s a great critique or a blog post about their latest book, you won’t feel so awkward approaching other writers, even those further along the writing path.