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Getting Started With Networking as a Writer

Earlier this week, one of our members posted this question in the forums:

I understand networking is extremely important especially if you would like to have something published but my question is how do you do this? How does someone like myself build up a network of links and acquaintances at such an early stage?

It’s an excellent question, and I’m taking a stab at it here.

First, as a shameless self-plug, I think forums like WritAnon are a great place to start. You can start finding out more about people, and as you get to know people better, they’re more likely to want to help you succeed.

Next, blogging is a good way to build a following, BUT you have to have a purpose with your blog. There are too many blogs that are unfocused out there, so you want to ensure you’re blogging for a purpose.

What do I mean by a purpose? Perhaps your purpose is to blog using short stories to establish yourself as an author in a particular genre. Perhaps you want to share some area of expertise you have that others do not (I blog about robotics, volunteering, and my family life in addition to running the blog here at WritAnon). Each blog as its own purpose, and I try to write articles that are interesting and focused on the audience for my blog.

Also important for would-be bloggers:  blog on a regular schedule.  It might be once a week, a few times a month, or a couple times a day, but create a schedule and stick to it.  I’d recommend starting light (once a week) and writing more often if you find you have more time and more to say.

If you want to build followers relatively quickly, Twitter is an awesome tool. However, you have to keep using it regularly (at least once a day), or your follower counts will start to drop.  And you have to say something interesting.  “I’m brushing my teeth again” doesn’t count.  “I’m brushing my teeth with an alligator skin toothbrush” might.  Especially if you have a photo to prove it.  Disclaimer: I don’t know if someone actually makes those, but I’d probably recommend against using one even if they did.  Please don’t capture an alligator and use it as a tooth brush.

Lastly, creating your own website that you update often (at least once a week) is useful, especially if you want people to find you by searching on your real name. You can check out my personal site in my signature if you want to see how I do it. I’ll be posting something tomorrow or Saturday for a new article. You then want to sprinkle it here and there on the Internet so people have a higher chance of finding the real you.

As an afterthought, I should also say: don’t try to do too much networking at once. It can easily become a full-time job if you let it.  Social networking should enhance your writing, not take away from your time of working on your stories.

These were my off-the-cuff and slightly edited comments.  What other things should a budding writer should do to build their network?

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