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Using Networking to Your Advantage
Whether you are a novice or a veteran writer, networking can do wonders for your career. Before the Internet, writers would just sit down in front of a typewriter or a pen and paper and then write away. After that, they would send their manuscripts and hope that their work would speak for itself. Modern writers should consider themselves lucky, now that the digital age is providing them with quantum ways to get their work out there and not just waiting for a SASE response from editors. If this article sounds like running in a vein you are already familiar with, I would ask you to give it a chance and still browse through the tips below. You may have not yet tried one tip or two, and it wouldn’t hurt.
Find a writer’s group
When I say find, don’t just look for them. Find a specific writers' group that caters to the genre or type of writing that appeals to you. Pardon the clichè, but birds of the same feather do flock together. Some groups are too general. Others are specific. If you ever stumbled upon the latter, go and join them.
Get out of your comfort zone
Whether you like it or not, you have to. Keep an open mind and take the time to listen to what other writers have to say. Some of them could offer you invaluable insights and strategies on navigating your way to publishing success and the writing business in general, like how to negotiate higher rates or finding a good agent. You can always walk away if you find a group that is nothing but air.
A business card can do wonders
Did you know that in Japan and South Korea, you are not much of a professional if you don’t have a business card? A business card, regardless of what part of the world you live in, is essential in today’s competitive world. Even if you are a freelancer working home-based, that little card creates an impression of professionalism. If you think you will not need it because you can always put people in a digital contact list, wait until you attend a writers' conference.
Make your presence felt on social media
Website. Blog. LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. The Internet is now the first place that people turn to when looking up someone. Much of networking is done on social media. Let people know what you are up to. This does not mean that you have to open up the personal part of your life. Show them what you have been actively doing as a writer. Are you working on a novel? Are you scouting for an agent? Have you just published a magazine article? It’s a lot of work--but the reward is that you meet like-minded individuals.
If you do, be genuine. Introduce yourself and shake with a firm hand. Don’t be too eager to tell others what you are up to. You should be the one asking them about this. Play your cards right and do not pitch your story immediately to the point that you grovel. Get to know people first. This is what networking is all about. Turn off your devices. It’s a distraction if you are listening to what another writer is telling you. Be a great listener, and others will often return the favor.
Keep in touch
After collecting tons of business cards from the recent writers' conference you attended, wait for at least two days to make a follow-up. Send them a personal message thanking them for their time. You can send them a text or an email. Look them up on social media and add them to your contacts. Help them gain more audience and they will likely do the same for you and even recommend you to an agent or a publisher they know.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Vincent Dublado