In my last post, I laid out a scary truth. Writers should be networking. And while many of you already knew this, it’s still scary. And it’s tough to figure out where to start. Writing is a whole different ballgame than say sales or marketing.
Or is it?
When writers set out to tell their work, they begin to don many hats. They suddenly have a product to sell, a persona (which is a businessy term that writers should know and refers to the “character” you want to present to the public) to push and sales to make. And, depending on their publishing contract (or lack thereof), they may be doing all of this themselves.
I know, just the thought of putting on pants and talking to people is scary enough let alone talking about all those hats, even if they are cute hats. But don’t worry, there is good news. In today’s world, there are a lot of different ways you can network…and some might not even involve leaving the house.
BUT wait…yes, there’s a but…
Where to Start?
And here it is: I am going to contradict myself for a minute and say you might have to go out in public. A little. At first. You might have to talk to some folks. Strike up some conversations. *Ducks as you swing at me* Trust me, the more you do it, the easier it gets!
But, before you put on your pants, let’s head to the Google. There are a few things we need to look for.
Start searching for writer’s groups in your area. The Capital City Writers Association, for instance, is in Mid-Michigan and is a fabulous place to start. They even have programs you can participate in online. There will be groups in your area. Find them. They may have membership fees. Pay it. The people you meet in these groups will not only offer a sense of camaraderie you can only get from meeting other writers, but they will have their own networks you will slowly be introduced to and connected with. And, it’s ok if you’re a little awkward. They are too.
Another great place to start is Meetup.com. Just Google Meetup and your city. If you don’t have an account you can set one up and they will ask about your interests and curate meetups for you. You’ll get to see other people attending, learn what they do and see how often they meet. You can even leave comments to break the ice before just showing up. Or, try some author readings. Simply sit, listen, and maybe shake a few hands after the event.
You know those creepy ads and sponsored posts that follow you around Facebook and are scarily accurate? Creepy, yes. But also super helpful. Facebook knows you. It knows what you like and what events will interest you. Listen to it. Try out a few of the things it suggests. Show your face to your local writing community. Get some contact info. You’ll need it.
Once you do this a few times you will be allowed to once again retreat back into writerly seclusion, I promise.
While the people you meet may not be business connections or publishers or even people that know how to get published, they are people who know people. And remember my last post? That will help you later.
Oh yea, they’re also fun.
And the other writers won’t judge you if it’s the first time you’ve been out of your house in a month.
Now that you’re exhausted from publicing so hard, take a break. My next posts will show you how to Network from the confines of your very own home.
Miss my last post? Figure out why, as scary as it is, you need to be networking.