The best fiction writers network live by the Golden Rule of Networking
“Networking for writers is about building a relationship with others by helping them be successful rather than looking for people who can help you. Authors who understand networking will want to help you be successful too.”
This is a simple rule, and yet, too many writers don’t understand the 5 simple rules of effective networkers.
1. Successful writers understand the value of networking.
Whether the writer is an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert (someone possessing traits of both), they understand that some aspects of networking come naturally and some areas they must work to improve. Introverts make excellent networkers because they are good at having meaningful discussions with people they meet. Extroverts love to meet people, but they often get frustrated when they never hear from all those people who gave them their business cards. Just as a gifted writer needs to study their craft to improve, becoming a great networker is a skill you can learn through study and practice.
2. Preparation is key to knowing who to approach at a networking event.
Successful networking for writers requires seeking out people who understand how networking works. The difference between meeting someone at an event and forming a mutually beneficial relationship is knowing how to determine who at an event possesses knowledge that could help you in your writing career and who would benefit from experience and knowledge. You determine this by researching attendees before the event. Look for professionals who share the same interests as you. Learn about their career and their projects. When you approach them you will have something to talk about at the event and also in your future correspondence as you help each other succeed.
3. Keep in touch with your contacts
The most important aspect of building your network of people you can help and who can help you is to reach out to people you have met at an event and start communicating with them through email, phone, text or online. Save the day after you return home from an event to send a message to all those people whose business card you collected at your event. Remind them where you met and what you talked about. Include a link to an online article or podcast that they might be interested in seeing based on their interests and goals.
4. Networking for writers offers value to your contacts.
Make the first move in your new networking relationship by researching your new contact to see what they are posting or blogging or talking about in their podcast. Then pass along some information they may not know about. Even if they are aware of the post they will see that you understand the important of generously offering information to help them.
5. When to ask your network for help.
Once you have established a regular correspondence with a contact, feel free to ask them for advice, an introduction to someone in their network who can help you in pursuing one of your writing career goals. Don’t be surprised either, when your contacts start sending opportunities your way. This is one of the benefits of having an active network of people. You give generously of your time and knowledge and they reciprocate.
Networking is one of the most effective ways to build your writing career. People are happy to help writers who are genuinely interested in helping them succeed. Your generosity of time and knowledge will be noted and returned.