Writers are often a great source of support for each other. Few professions have so many members willing to educate others in their field. The experience and expertise of other writers can help you at all levels of your career.
Joining writers groups and professional organizations, participating in online forums, writing your own blogs and following other author blogs, and getting to know people at writing classes and conferences, are all traditional ways to become acquainted with other authors.
However, networking also involves giving back. Share your knowledge with other authors and offer them encouragement and inspiration. You will receive the satisfaction that comes from helping others and the benefits that come from a group of people who are willing to aid you.
Facebook and Twitter
No matter your level, Facebook and Twitter have opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the author. Through Facebook and Twitter, you can connect with readers, publicize your article or book, promote other authors by posting about their books, show off your new book cover, and make interesting and helpful connections.
I spend very little time on either site, yet by utilizing them a bit, I’ve managed to post about my writing process, my books, my friends’ books, find places where I can guest blog, and make other promotional connections. For example, I was invited to be a guest on a radio show from someone I met on Twitter.
Many agents and editors are on Facebook and Twitter. You can learn about them through their posts (which often link to their blogs). Most agents and editors keep their posts professional, and you can read enough to figure out if they are a good fit for you. Agents and editors also post articles about the publishing industry, the type of books they are acquiring, and what they do and don’t want to see in a submission.
Success comes from taking action. It does a writer no good to build up a network of connections and then not utilize them. A window of opportunity usually opens for a brief time, and if you don’t seize the chance, someone else will.
Ask your network for help when you need it. While writing my first nonfiction book, The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving, whenever I had a question, I had a specific group of writers that I’d go to and they always had what I needed. They saved me hours of research, and with a five-month deadline, every minute was important. The fact that I had this kind of support also made me feel gratitude whenever I utilized the group–an important boost of positivity during a difficult and stressful time.
I owe the existence of The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving to my friend, author Tori Scott. We were finalists of the 2003 Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest. The finalists formed a Yahoo group and became friends. Over the years, we’ve helped each other in many ways.
Tori follows agent Jessica Faust on Facebook. Last year, Jessica posted that she was searching for a specialist on grief to write a book, and Tori emailed me the information. I contacted Jessica, who thought I was a great fit for the publisher. She submitted me to the editor, and I was chosen – acquiring an agent and a publishing contract in one fell swoop.
Through sharing my expertise with others, developing networking relationships, and taking immediate action on an opportunity, I made a sale happen that would never have occurred otherwise.
Debra Holland is the author of The Essential Guide to Grief and Grieving from Alpha Books (a subsidiary of Penguin). She has a free ebooklet available on her website: 58 Tips for Getting What You Want From a Difficult Conversation. Debra’s self-published sweet historical Western romance, Wild Montana Sky, has made the Amazon Top 100 Best Seller list.