With all the emphasis today placed on social media as a tool to network and build strong platforms, writers can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed and under the gun. Immersed in an array of choices, it’s easy to get lost for hours with nothing concrete to show for our time and sweat equity.
I’ve recently discovered that there’s an easier way to manage our time, our careers, and our bottom line.
The secret? Networking when we’re not working! That’s right. You’ll find that many of the “old school” techniques abandoned, in exchange for technology, still apply. And here’s the bonus: they work effectively for writers of all levels and genres.
Here’s a case in point.
A few months ago, I was having a “manic Monday,” and opted for a little retail therapy to lift my spirits. With limited funds, I ended up at a local “quality” thrift store, where I have been known to scour selections for popular, best-selling titles for less than a buck. At the end of this day’s “scavenger hunt,” I was happy to score two books that would have normally run $25.00 for just $0.42, in excellent condition.
As I stood in line, I struck up a casual conversation with the lady in front of me about our purchases. One book caught her eye: “The Best of the Magazine Markets for Writers.” She asked about my career, and if I had ever been successfully published. I gave her a brief account of my online and print credits to date. It just so happened that she was an aspiring writer looking for some editing and publishing assistance. The next day, we agreed to meet, and she signed on for future work, with a check in hand.
Here’s what I learned in our exchange, and you can too:
1. Networking doesn’t have to be aggressive, awkward, or even formal. Something as simple as an everyday conversation can usher in a potential business opportunity. Forget what your mom taught you about never talking to strangers!
2. Though social media is a great way to make virtual connections across the country, and increase one’s visibility tremendously, it works best in tandem with in-person meetings, cold calling, and other marketing measures. Remember to diversify your efforts.
Done strategically, networking can increase your net worth, your client base, and your confidence.
Jennifer Brown Banks is an award-winning blogger, ghost writer and popular relationship columnist. Her work has been featured in print and online publications such as: Pro Blogger, Writing World, Funds for Writers, and The Well-Fed Writer. She appears in the 2014 edition of the Writer’s Market, by Writers Digest.