When looking for good workers, employers place personal connections above talent on their priority list. The same holds true for writers. In addition to having superb writing skills, you should make personal connections with editors, agents and other writers. This article will provide you with tips on what you can do to network with professionals offline.
Always carry Business Cards
Writing is a business just as much as selling cars is. As a writer, you are your own employer. In order to promote yourself and your book, you must always carry your own personalized business cards. Business cards should always contain your name, email, website and any other relevant information, such as degrees, diplomas, certificates (if you have any). Business cards can be creative, but should never be too bright and flashy in color.
When handing out a business card it is always good to give the person a brief overview about yourself as a writer. Business cards do show a strong degree of professionalism. Most of the time, agents and editors are in a rush, so the last thing they want to do is to find a pen and write down your information.
Get involved in Professional Events
Professional events are trade shows, conferences, meetings, festivals and workshops. For writers, the best events to network are at local writers’ festivals and at writers’ conferences. A festival is an event where authors are invited to do book readings and signings. A writers’ conference, on the other hand, is an event where authors are invited to give workshops to attendees and where agents and editors seek out new talent.
Costs vary for festivals, depending on popularity and location. Conferences, on the other hand, can be quite costly. If you cannot afford to attend a conference, you can offer to volunteer at one. While performing certain tasks as a volunteer, you can still find the time to network with authors, agents and editors. As a volunteer, you can even sit in on workshops for free.
You can also become involved in your community’s weekly toastmasters organization. Toastmasters gives you the opportunity to showcase your talent and to learn public speaking skills, which is crucial to your career as an author. Toastmasters is also good for confidence building and it enables you to network with other like-minded professionals.
Writers’ Critique Groups
Another way to connect with other writers is to join a critique group. Wherever there are writers, there are writers’ critique groups. These types of organizations exist in almost every community, small or large. Find out if there is a writers’ critique group in your community, contact the person in charge and inquire about dates and times the group meets, location of their meetings and how much they charge. Most often, writers’ critique groups are quite affordable. If no one in your community has organized a critique circle for writers and you have a number of friends who are writers, then you could start your own critique group.
Being a part of a critique circle enables you to obtain feedback on your work-in-progress from more experienced writers and to build friendships with them. One of your fellow writers may even have an agent or editor they personally know who they can connect you with.
When networking with professionals, you have to be persistent and you must be patient. It takes time to build long-lasting connections, but with much effort, your hard work will pay off.
Deanna Proach is a novelist. Her first book, ‘Day of Revenge’, a historical suspense set in revolutionary France was released by Inkwater Press. She currently resides in Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada where she is acting and writing her second novel, ‘To be Maria’.