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Posts Tagged ‘Networking’

Getting Started With Networking as a Writer

Monday, December 13th, 2010

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?

Networking with Other Writers

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Yesterday, I spent some time at a writing conference–helping determine what opportunities are needed for writers in my area.

The conference included around 35 writers, editors, and other group leads from my area.  While the number might seem small, we filled up the venue–a small store/art center in Zumbrota called Crossings at Carnegie.

The store was full of paintings, knick-knacks, and books.  One painting that particularly caught my eye was of a cow with an almost freakishly-large eye.  It stared at me throughout the entire conference, but it was a friendly gaze.

Any ill feelings about the cow were forgotten as I found myself drawn into conversation after conversation with writer after writer.  For example:

  • One of my former clients of WritAnon’s editing service told me about her current project.  She also mentioned she was looking forward to sending it on to me when she felt it was ready.  It’s a neat feeling to run into someone who’s grateful for your help
  • Several people weren’t aware I was the new leader of the Rochester MN Writing group, so I passed out my email address to interested folks so I can send them information on the group.
  • We talked about how we had so many groups, with no underlying network between them.  The biggest problem that we have, as with any large group, is communicating what’s happening across the entire area.
  • We found there was interest in organizing a read-a-thon (like a telethon) to try to raise money to support the arts in Minnesota.  I’ll be talking with some of my contacts at the local library to see if we can organize this.
  • Several folks told me about various events occurring in the area, and what typically happens at each.  Benefiting from other experiences is a great advantage to networking.
  • I discovered there is a need in our area for authors exploring social media, finding writing jobs online, and marketing themselves as a writer.

One of the things I like most about networking is that you don’t know exactly what you’re going to learn while you’re there.  I met various folks from all areas of life–lots of retirees, a couple of editors, novelists (published and unpublished), and freelancers.  Through the conversations on Saturday, I’ve opened up doors that I can use in the future to find other opportunities.

What opportunities might arise for me?

  • Additional members in WritAnon’s writing forums
  • Writers who use WritAnon’s editing service
  • New members of the local real-world writing group
  • Teaching classes or seminars on writing, social media, or marketing oneself as a writer
  • Creating new opportunities for other writers through events like a read-a-thon

What opportunities have you found through networking?  What opportunities might I be missing?

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