Last week, I wrote about what I see as the first key to publishing, researching the industry. This week, I’m discussing the second key to publishing, networking. I don’t really like the tern “networking”. Although it refers to professional relationships, it still sounds cold and a bit predatory. So when networking, not only should we get to know people who can help us in our publishing journey, we should look for people we can help as well. Networking should be a two way street.
Getting to Know People
I would have published nothing if I hadn’t crept out of my introverted shell and began talking to people in the publishing industry. My first step was to join the Ohio chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Writers with different sorts of successes were in the group and welcomed me as a rookie. Two years after I joined the chapter, two authors, Tamera Lynn Kraft and Michelle L. Levigne, proposed our chapter publish a collection of Christian fiction short stories set in Ohio. I jumped at the chance.
Tamera and Michelle decided the anthology would be the first book published by their new press, Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Because I worked hard to write a decent story and acted professional as I met deadlines and helped to promote the anthology, I established some credibility with them. When they asked for submissions for a Christmas anthology, I wrote “A Rose from the Ashes”. Tamera and Michelle like that so much that they wanted to see what I wrote next, which led to A Shadow on the Snow.
All of these stories saw the light of print because I got to know writers in my writing group.
Helping People You Know
As I’ve blogged and attended writing conferences, I’ve met writers I can help. When author Philip Rivera, who writes funny family stories, asked for critiques, I was able to give him my opinion. When YA author M. Liz Boyle asked for information on doing audiobooks as an independent author, I asked Michelle Levigne, who provided detailed advice. Author Therese Van Meter and I phone each other regularly to offer encouragement on our writing journeys.
I feel better if I can help someone, especially if I can offer help that I wished I’d had when I first looked into writing and publishing.
What’s your opinion on the best way to network?