This is something I’m yet to master to its fullest, but is important in every career not just for writers.
I’ve already talked about the social importance of connecting with other writers. People who understand what you are going through will no doubt share many of the same difficulties and strengths. However, more than this is the knowledge that they may share with you, the tips they may have, and their motivational support and critiquing abilities.
Face to face contact with other writers in a friendly and supportive atmosphere can really help you improve your writing.
From a business point of view (the part I lack!), building a large network of potential customers is invaluable and a lot of traditional publishers now like to see this before deciding on publishing your manuscript.
Speaking of industry workers, conferences are a great way to network with other writers, agents and publishers. If you have something complete, many conferences offer you the opportunity to practice your pitch to an agent and have your work critiqued by an editor. Take all the advice you can to make your manuscript (MS) the best it can be.
Asking people if they’d read your MS and seeing what they say can have one of two effects. Either they’re inundated with unsolicited MS and not be interested on this occasion, or they may agree. Either way you won’t know if you don’t ask. Pick your moment and your contact carefully.
Agents and publishers like to be targeted specifically. There are so many manuscripts out there it’s a minefield for them. It is easier for us as writers to research them and find a fit for our work rather than the other way around. Knowing your genre and even sub genre, and your contacts interests can save a lot of wasted time.
Some UK conferences include:
The Literary Conference (London)
The Writers Conference (London)
Sig Writing Conference (Liverpool)
Festival of Writing (York)
What are your thoughts on networking, are you attending any conferences this year? How has networking helped you as a writer?