Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Networking Matters

Writing involves so much more than transferring your brilliant idea from the back of your grocery receipt to your keyboard. Networking is necessary for every professional writer. For the introvert, it's more like the necessary evil.

My first published articles were born from meeting editors face-to-face. Since then my circle of connections continues to grow. I enjoy meeting new faces and learning what publishers are looking for. I can think I have a great topic, but often times it requires a tweak--or two or three--to fit into a magazine.

So how do you start networking? I suggest attending a writer's conference or workshop in your area or joining Shoutlife.com or another online writers group. Put yourself out there and let people know you write. Have business cards made. I like Vistaprint.com for reasonable prices and template choices. Don't be like me and show up to your first conference with scissors and paper. I cut out my own cards. I'm sure I made a strong first impression. A funny, unprofessional one.

Thoughts on other networking options?

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Anonymous said...

Good post! I think websites, blogs, writer's groups, and lots of time spent getting to know others are great ways to network. Good stationary, a great look, and like you said...business cards. All great things.

elizabeth said...

Good topic! I definitely need to network more than I have been. I'm not a shy person, but I'm also not especially blessed with an appreciation for small talk, which can put me at a disadvantage when it comes to this kind of thing.

I've found that old professors (from the J-School, in my case)can be good networking sources for some things. They seem to know everyone! I'm a fairly recent grad, though, so it's easy for me to get in touch with them.

Oddly enough, I once got a freelance writing gig for a local magazine because my mom gave my name and number to a freelance writer for the mag, who then gave it to the editor, who then called me. So, it could be helpful to give a few trusted friends and family members (especially the extroverted ones) some business cards to hand out in case they know of or meet other writers or editors, etc.

As for the business cards: what do you recommend including on them? Name, e-mail address, and phone number are obvious, but is there anything else that might help? Do you think it would help to build a Web site that serves as an online portfolio, and include the url for that on the business card?

Beth K. Vogt said...

Okay--I met Tiffany when she handed me one of those "Wait a minute while I cut you one of my business cards" cards. It was a memorable moment. She is now one of my trusted writing comrades!

As far as business cards go: I just read a column that said it is good to put your photo on your business card. That way someone always has your face to go with your information.
However, I spent good money on a logo and I put that on my business card. It gets lots of good comments and I think it sticks with people too--and it identifies my Mommy-Come-Lately brand.

Tiffany Stuart said...

Elizabeth, to add to Beth's thoughts, I put my blog addy on my business card too.

jen said...

I'm not at a very advanced stage of writing, in that for the moment I rely heavily on my blog. I find that I meet amazing people when I comment on other blogs, and it's not always the people whose (who's?) blog I commented on. often times another reader of that blog will read my comment and find my blog.

I also find that when I participate in group events like NaBloPoMo, Blogher, and the Fall Ya'll Giveaway, I meet new people... like you!

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