As writers and aspiring writers, we all know that what happens on the page is what really matters. If we’re not spending time there, then something’s amiss. And yet, we also need to get out into the world and connect with fellow writers and other members of our extended tribe. Not only is this energizing and inspiring, it’s also vital for connecting with the publishing industry and the readers we ultimately want to reach.
Enter the Write Group and my compadres, Carl Selinger and Mackenzie Reide. Carl is an author and longtime business exec and Mackenzie is an independent publisher and author of a great YA series (theadventurers.com). Here are some of their tips for building a web of writing-related contacts:
See networking as a tool: It’s a way to the acquire information and support you need to thrive as a writer. Anyone you meet has the potential to help you in some way, so cast a wide networking net: friends, writers, business associates, family, social acquaintances. One example: When my sister Steph checked out an agent’s Web site for me recently, she noticed that a good friend of hers was a client and just dashed off an email to her asking for a referral on my behalf. Who knew?
Get involved: Join clubs, associations, and local groups related to your writing interests. Mackenzie has made some great contacts by joining MeetUp groups with writing-related interests (Harry Potter, Sci Fi Fantasy). She’s also been very active in the New York chapter of SCBWI — a major resource in children’s publishing for picture books, middle grade, and YA writers.
Use social media selectively: There are tons of tools out there for writers, which can be overwhelming. But if you take time to explore a handful that appeal to you, you can begin to feel more comfortable in this arena. Mackenzie has just started working with Goodreads: building an author’s page, listing her books on the site, and launching a free-book promotion. As an indie author, Mackenzie is very open to finding new ways to bring her books directly to readers and she’s willing to take a trial-and-error approach to learning what works and what doesn’t. Having an open, go-for-it! mindset can be a tremendous asset and lead you to some great resources and connections. Write on!