For an introvert writer, one of the biggest fears is meeting others. For an author your closest friends are most likely your characters. They are the individuals who depend on you to get them from the beginning of the story to the end (or close to the end if you end up ending their lives mid-story)
However, as a writer the thing that is feared is the one thing necessary if you want to get far in a writing career.
Currently at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference has provided me with a view of why having a network is pertinent to a writing career.
1. Networking is about building connections that may not pay off now but could in the future.
My take: Who you meet today can help you in the future. That person who randomly asks you what genre you write could be someone looking to publish or knows someone who wants to publish that same genre.
2. Prepare answers to popular one-liners.
My take: If you can answer the questions “What do you write? What are you working on? Why are you here?” then it can be the beginning of a conversation that could lead to other ventures. What kind of venture? See #1 above.
3. Share your name and where you are from during the conversation
My take: This has personally helped me. Last year at this same conference I met a group of people, one of which lived in California just like I did. Since then she and I have talked about publishing, options and our future works. You never know if the person you’re talking to is where you’re from unless you ask or bring it up yourself. Be the leader.
4. Networking goes beyond the conference
My take: The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference runs from August 12th – August 14th. Three days is not enough time to truly get to know someone. Sure, you will jot down the names of everyone you talk to, exchange business cards, Twitter handles, Facebook names etc but what then? What happens Sunday afternoon? You board a plane and head home. Then what? You continue to Network, that’s what! Networking doesn’t have to just be within the three days of the conference. Keep the conversation going. Writer’s should want to talk to people who were not created in their imaginations but love to create. With so many channels at our exposure we should be able to keep the conversation going long after the conference door closes.
What do you think of the Networking tips above? Do you have any to recommend? Leave them in the comments below.