Among writers, the word “networking” conjures up images of forced connections, mixed motives, and try-hard conversations. The thought of networking can leave many writers with a feeling of overwhelm or even dread. However, networking is an important part of sharing your work and growing your audience.
At hope*writers, we know writers can’t do it all on their own. We’re committed to helping you balance the art of writing and the business of publishing — networking is a necessary part of the process.
We interviewed author and speaker Katie Reid, who shared the wins and pitfalls she experienced in the networking process.
Katie offers us the following do’s and don’ts of networking as writers:
Get to know people in the same casual, friendly way you would if you sat down over coffee.
Try to impress people. This doesn’t build authentic relationships. Building real relationships that benefit both parties is the goal. Trying to outdo one another is not.
Find your own networking style based on your personality. Are you an introvert or extrovert? Do you like to invite or be invited? Do you like small groups or large ones? Knowing yourself will help guide your decisions.
Network in a way that feels counterintuitive to your personality. This will exhaust you and suck the life out of your work.
Feel confident in following up with others. Unless they’ve made it clear they don’t have the time or capacity to work with you, following up can bring positive results.
Hound a fellow writer for help, a connection, or an endorsement. Know the difference between persistence and pestering.
Be aware of your motivations. Taking a moment to gut-check your motives before reaching out to another writer is a good idea.
Forget to consider how you make other people feel as you make connections with them. You don’t want others to come away from an interaction with you feeling used.
Finally, Katie says, “We want to be the kind of writer who helps hold the ladder for somebody else so that they can climb higher.”
With this in mind:
Pay it forward. Ask yourself what connections you can make between others. How can you further another writer’s career hopes through your own connections?
Forget that your success is a gift you can pass along to help others.
Our conversation with Katie is full of practical tips for taking the dread out of networking. Want to hear more? Click here for free access to our entire conversation with Katie and take one step toward balancing the art of writing with the business of publishing.