So this blog considers the reasons writers should network. Extroverted writers might shrug and stop reading. As far as I can tell, networking and its benefits come naturally to them. This post is intended for writers who need the extra push to connect with others.
First, however, a comment on what type of networking to engage in. Social media obviously offers many ways to connect. However, it’s very easy to post and dash, with the result that, at best, a superficial connection is created and the benefits of networking don’t materialize. So, in this blog, what I have in mind is old-school conversation, preferably face-to-face, or real social media interaction.
Here are the reasons I see for a writer to network.
It’s less lonely. Writers seem generally constituted to work happily over long stretches on their own. Most, though, need at least some human contact from time to time, which networking can help.
It’s enriching. Apart from helping her writing, networking will enrich a writer through what she learns and the benefits of friendship like an increased sense of belonging and the ability to share life’s stresses.
For content. This verges on crass, but a writer will be exposed to another person’s experiences, which in turn can be fodder for writing.
To help research. Lots of book research can be done using online and textual sources. However, interviews can greatly improve verisimilitude. Often, though, strangers will not give interviews without a reference. Networking can offer routes to and references for interviews.
For feedback. It’s possible a person with whom a writer networks has read her book(s) or knows someone who has. The writer may have an excellent opportunity to receive constructive criticism.
To promote. And if that person hasn’t read the writer’s book(s), the writer has an excellent opportunity to pique that person’s interest or induce him to think of someone who might have an interest. It’s best to promote with a soft touch, though.
For other opportunities. The person with whom a writer meets may know circumstances which could help the writer. There are countless examples, like the person having novel promotional ideas or knowing a book club that follows the writer’s genre.
For more networking. And that person will also have his own group of friends who might be suitable for further networking. In corporate networking, it’s often said that a person should leave a meeting with three new contact names. A writer can think in the same terms.
To offer help. The writer should be on the lookout for how she can help the person she’s networking with. Without intending to sound like a line from The Godfather, a writer who offers a favour may gain a future one.
Copyright ©2015 Peter Fritze
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