Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Due to a family emergency, I will not be online for a couple of weeks. I would appreciate prayers for my family and myself, especially today and Friday. Thanks.



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I’ll be attending my first writing conference in a couple of weeks, and have scoured the internet looking for tips on what to expect. Some suggestions I’ve read are simply common sense: be professional; be prepared to take advantage of opportunities to pitch your work; be friendly; turn off your cell phone.

I came across a few ideas, though, that aren’t so obvious. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, too.

1. Go with a particular goal in mind, but keep your expectations low.

You’ll probably not get a contract out of it, but you may get some feedback on your writing. Even if you don’t, this is an opportunity to network and to learn from people who know what they’re doing.

2. Bring business cards.

Apparently people exchange cards with their contact information as a way to network. Use the back of the ones you get from other people for notes that will remind you of who they are and why you took their card.

3. Research the speakers, agents and editors that will be there.

Your chances of finding someone to represent you or give you helpful feedback will increase if you know which ones represent the type of writing you do. You’ll also be better prepared to talk to them if you meet them at dinner or during a break.

4. Think up a few conversation starters so you’ll be more comfortable talking to strangers.

One I frequently use is: “Excuse me. I’m lost. Could you tell me where to find (insert appropriate place)?”  Or how about, “I’m having a wonderful time here. What about you?”

5. Bring something you’d like to have critiqued—but not your whole novel.

Some conferences provide opportunities for people to read and discuss each other’s work. Also, agents and/or editors may ask to see something you’ve written, so be prepared for the possibility.

6. Practice talking about yourself and your writing.

You want to make a good first impression, so think of something interesting to say in response to questions such as, “What type of writing do you do?” “Tell me a little about yourself.” “Are you enjoying the conference?” “Haven’t I met you before?”

7. Smile.  🙂



Do you agree with the tips I’ve mentioned? What’s the most important advice you’d give someone attending her first conference? What should I not do while I’m there? Have you ever attended the Indianapolis Christian Writer’s Conference? Are you going to be there this year?

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A common question from writers is whether or not it’s necessary for them to develop a blog or join a social networking site such as Facebook. The majority of us seem to think it is. However, there are differing opinions as to when, why, and to what degree networking is important.

For those who are published, or soon-to-be published, a website, blog, and social networking may be essential marketing tools. The trend in publishing is for writers to take over much of the responsibility for promoting their own work, and online activities can make a big difference in the success of a book.

For unpublished writers not actively submitting stories or articles for possible publication, though, an online presence may not be helpful. Devoting time to blogging, participating in forums, and updating Facebook may distract us from writing and studying the craft, which we should be doing to make our work marketable. On the other hand, those activities can be fun, and help us find like-minded people who will encourage us and possibly become critique partners.

I have mixed feelings about the value of a blog at this stage in my writing career. The people who read my blog tend to be other writers, but writers also tend to be readers—so somewhere down the line, this may become a valuable asset. Since I enjoy blogging, it makes sense to keep at it. For those who haven’t started submitting work for publication and don’t enjoy blogging, I think it’s more beneficial to spend time working on writing stories and articles than blog posts.

I haven’t joined a social networking site, so can’t say from personal experience whether or not they are worth the investment of a writer’s time. My opinion on blogging may not mean anything to those of you reading this, either. So, I’ve compiled a list of sites where publishing professionals discuss this topic. If you’re trying to make up your mind on how much you need to be doing online at a certain stage of your career, you may find these sites helpful:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/03/author-platform-what-are-you-waiting-for/  Joel Friedlander on author platforms

http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2009/03/lets-talk-about-platform.html  Rachelle Gardner talks about platforms

http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2009/07/social-networking-vs-writing.html Rachelle Gardner on unpublished authors and networking

http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2009/04/building-platform-for-fiction.html  Jessica Faust on fiction platforms

http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-on-platform.html  Janet Reid on nonfiction platforms


What online activities do you participate in? Which ones do you think are useful for promoting your work? How much time do you spend each day blogging and/or networking? What topics do you talk about most often on your blog or networking site? When do you think an aspiring author should start building an online presence?



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Rachel Zurakowski, an Assistant Literary Agent at Books & Such, invited bloggers who focus on writing-related or publishing topics to share their site links in a blog Carnival. She’s posted the links today, and suggests that people visit these blogs as a way of getting to know others who share our interest in writing.

I’ve visited a couple of the blogs already, and plan to take a look at all of them within the next day or so. This is a great opportunity for writers to network with each other, so those of you who have writing blogs may want to check out the Carnival at: http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/welcome-to-the-blog-carnival/#more-5101

According to their website, Books & Such works with a wide range of publishers (many of them Christian), and are interested in “women’s fiction, general fiction, nonfiction, gift books, children’s picture books, easy readers, and chapter books.” Rachel Zurakowski is particularly interested in books by and for the twenty to thirty-something age group.

My blog is one of those listed, so if you’re a Carnival visitor, or not, thanks for stopping by.

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