The more I network with writers, editors and publishers, the more I see a correlation between those efforts and increasing work and pay. The more networking I do, the more I get it right, the more the fruits of those seeds come back to reward me.
I’ve been a full-time freelance writer for six years. I wrote part-time for two years before that. I make my whole living from writing. I can tell you with confidence that these are among the fastest, most effective networking techniques, specifically for writers, as I’ve learned them from experience and the tutelage of others.
Help your colleagues; here’s how.
Help fellow writers you meet through writer member groups and message boards. Develop and nurture relationships with these wordsmiths. One day, they may be able to help you.
Answer their questions. They’ll come to rely on you. They’ll think of you fondly and often. When they have the opportunity to recommend other writers, they may think of you first. If they become editors themselves, they’ll already know they can count on you and may contact you with work.
Suggest markets in which they may be able to publish. This really does work to further your career. I wouldn’t suggest sharing the very markets for which you want to work. However, you will likely come across many markets that are right for others though they aren’t right for you. I share those.
Be supportive. Encouragement, a pat on the back or a word of hope can be as important as assistance that is more tangible. Relationships are more important than results. Hold the value of your writer friends above that of your work. Adhering to these priorities will secure all the professional results you will need.
Get in touch with editors you know on a regular basis.
Again, do this on a relationship level as much as a work level. To demonstrate a genuine interest in them, you might keep a note card for each editor (works for writers, too) organized in some manner, perhaps in alphabetical order.
Use the cards to keep a record of significant personal facts about each person, such as their favorite hobbies or their birthdays. Pull the card when making contact and mention these things to show that you remember and care.
Even if you know they may not have work for you, write once every couple of months. You can often write just to ask how they are doing, to check in and make sure they are okay. A thoughtful, personal contact can lead to a reply with work you didn’t even ask for.
Suggest another writer to an editor you know where both parties will be pleased. You may be remembered by both with work or recommendations.
Share links to articles on topics that are of interest to both you and your editor friend. It will give you something to talk about, show that you are keeping up on current news and events in their coverage and interest areas and provide the editor with another reason to remember you when more work hits his or her desk.
Write to anyone who uses writing and introduce yourself.
Find email contact information for websites, companies, and marketers–anyone who uses content. Search Google for things like ‘tech site:*.net” without the quotes if, for example, you’re looking for technology sites or companies. Check the site’s pages for those email addresses.
Make contact in a way that shows you are approaching them professionally, but on a getting-to-know-you level, without initially asking for work or making lengthy suggestions about the kinds of work you do.
Learn how to tailor these kinds of communications over time. Perhaps include some link to a website or great new published article in your signature when writing/emailing, so they might find it and realize you are someone they would like to get to know, who might be a valuable contact someday.
Help out, check in and go out of your way to make new contacts. That’s the networking way!
David Geer writes about technology, high-tech and computers. He covers a variety of topics including the Internet, broadband, hardware, software, security, IT, wireless, consumer electronics and semiconductors. For samples, visit http://www.geercom.com. Contact David at david – at – geercom.com.