I’m sure I’ve blogged about networking before. I know many other writers have tackled the subject. With good reason. For a writer, networking is an important part of the job. Maybe not as important as actually sitting down and writing, but right up there on the list.

Basically networking is getting out and mingling, letting others know you’re a writer, joining groups (especially if those groups either involve writers or readers), offering to help others, sharing ideas, and listening. I learn from the groups I join, and I try to help, whenever my help is requested. Networking can lead to book sales, but I never want that to be the primary reason I join a group or attend an event.

Lately I’ve had three events I attended that have resulted in new events in which I will be able to sell books. In the first case, I attended a writers group I’ve belonged to for years
but haven’t been able to attend as regularly as I once did. A new member had brought her mother along, and we started talking. Seems she belongs to a book club that loves mysteries, and they meet in a library about twenty minutes from where I live. In September I’ll be speaking to that group. They chose my book to read for that month.

In May I was a guest at an AAUW tea. When introduced, I said I was a writer, and after the meeting, a woman came up and asked if I’d like to join her book club. They read mysteries written by women with female protagonists. I have joined the group (so far I’ve loved the books they’ve picked) and since both THE CROWS and AS THE CROW FLIES have a female protagonist (and I am a woman), they’re now going to read my books.

And finally, in June I attended an Authors and Illustrators Tea held at the Benton Harbor Library. That library is very supportive of writers and it was a delight to be there, mingling with other writers. We weren’t to sell anything, but as a result of the networking I did
while there (don’t we love talking to other writers), I’ve now been invited to participate in the Harbor Authors Festival in September, where I’ll do a reading and can sell books.

Three examples of events I didn’t attend with the idea of selling or promoting my books, but by networking, the word gets out. My advice to any writer who has or hopes to have a
book published.

*Always have a copy or two of your book(s) in your car, suitcase, or work desk.
*Always have business cards with you that give contact information and perhaps
something about your book(s).
*Do let people know you’re a writer. Maybe you don’t have a book in print yet,
but people love to talk to writers, and who knows, once your book is available,
that might be the person who sets up a signing…or buys your first book.
*Always be nice, never say anything negative about another writer/agent/editor
or book seller. Those words might come back to haunt you.
*Get away from that computer once in a while and mingle with others. It will do
you a world of good.

Networking can be (and is) fun.

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4 Responses to Networking

  1. Wonderful examples of networking and the results it can bring, Maris. And congrats on the upcoming events.

  2. Diane Burton says:

    Good idea about always having biz cards to hand out. I’ve missed some great opportunities because I didn’t have any. All the best on your upcoming events.

  3. Annette says:

    What a lovely suggestion. Thanks for the idea and the advice on how it can be a win-win for both. Your talks/readings are always rewarding for the audience so I know they will enjoy.

  4. Great ideas. And congrats on the many upcoming events.