The Guerrilla’s Golden Rule of Reciprocity:
Ask of others only what you are eager to give in return.
Six Degrees of Separation, a play that became a movie, is based on the premise that we are separated by no more than six people from anyone on the planet.
This was before technology collapsed time and distance. Disintermediation is a fancy way of saying that thanks to the wonders of technology, only E-mail separates you from Bill Gates, any Fortune 500 CEO, or the president of the United States.
The relationships between editors and their colleagues and agents; between agents and the editors and writers they work with; between publicists and the media; and between sales reps and booksellers are what keep publishing humming.
Your relationships began the moment you were born. You had a personal network: your family, their friends, and your relatives. As you grew up, you added your network of friends and schoolmates and their families.
As an aspiring author, you need all the help you can get, and there are people around the world who want to help you. They just don’t know you yet. So as important as anything you do for your career is making contact with them by building two international networks:
- A publishing network of fans, writers, reviewers, booksellers, sales reps, librarians, members of writers’ organizations, writing teachers, and the businesses that provide the products and services you need.
Reading Publishers Weekly will keep you informed about what publishers and a small percentage of authors are doing. Write a letter to every author in your field whose work you like, telling them why. If their contact information is not in the back of their books, and no one in your networks knows their addresses, write to them care of their publishers. Since agents screen their clients’ mail, you might find an agent this way.
Becoming a successful author is not an adventure for the fainthearted or for introverts content to sit in front of their computers and write. It calls for meeting authors at signings and conferences, and attending book fairs, writing classes, and writers’ conferences. It requires you to join writers’ organizations that can help you.
- A field network of every opinion-maker in your field in the media, government, and academia. This is important whether you’re writing about history or writing historical novels. Being an active member of organizations in your field helps prove to agents and editors that you deserve to be taken seriously.
You have direct and indirect networks. Your direct networks are all the people you know; your indirect networks are everyone they know. E-mail makes it easier than ever to build and maintain your networks.
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Author101 Newsletter”
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