N – Networking

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.

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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.

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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:

Winchester Writers’ Conference

Writing East Midlands

The Literary Conference (London)

Great Writing Conference

The Writers Conference (London)

Sig Writing Conference (Liverpool)

Festival of Writing (York)

Newcastle Writing Conference

What are your thoughts on networking, are you attending any conferences this year? How has networking helped you as a writer?

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2 responses to “N – Networking

  1. I am also bad at networking. I always feel a bit disingenuous trying to sell myself. I need to work on that. I like the idea of conferences but admit to being very intimidated.

  2. I have enjoyed the conferences I’ve attended but early came to the conclusion as an OTA (older than average) writer, most agents and publishers aren’t going to be interested in my stuff. Your post mentions that traditional publishers like to see a lot of sales. I found an article that said sales in the thousands. That’s not me. I’m indie all the way! The suggestion to meet up with other writers is sound, whether F2F or online. We really do learn from each other. Thanks for writing about a topic that’s not so easy for writers.

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