Networking for Writers by Guest Author Debra Eckerling

Networking for Writers

by Debra Eckerling

Networking is an essential part of any business. And writing is a business! How can you expand your reach if you are not out and about meeting new people? Online communities are great. I am a huge fan of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. My writers website – Write On! Online – uses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and BlogTalkRadio for building and promoting community.

The key, however, is to meet people in real life, expand your social network, and embrace new opportunities.

Places to Go:

Low-Maintenance:

“Performance Art” is what we call going into a coffeehouse and reading your script or manuscript, working on a laptop: doing some sort of writerly activity – it never fails to draw attention. Pick your favorite coffee house, hole-in-the-wall diner, out-of-the-house workspace, and go there regularly. You may see the same people on a frequent basis and strike up friendships and conversations. When I had a corporate day job, I would take my lunch hour a few times a week in the eating area outside the building next door. I would see the same people every day, have an occasional chat while eating and/or doing my writing, and have enough distance from my office that I could be productive.

Medium-Maintenance:

Take a class, go to a lecture, learn something new. Granted, those of us in Los Angeles and New York have a lot more opportunities: The Writers Store in LA, Writers Guild of America, the Paley Center of New Media, and others have amazing events. Check your public library and/or local bookstore – Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Mom ‘n Pop Bookshop – for local author-signings, lectures, and workshops. You can even check the community college for extension courses; Sur La Table and other specialty stores have classes and demos. Look for activities that interest you: do some searching and see what is offered. You never know who you will meet or where it will lead you.

High-Maintenance:

Networking Events, Meet Ups, and Mixers are filled with people actively looking to meet others. If you are outgoing, these situations are a piece of cake; for introverts, not so much. If this is not your cup of tea, that’s okay, All I can say is this: give it a shot. Stay 30 minutes or 3 hours. Big crowded events, where you are forced to in a room with total strangers may be overwhelming, but they can also result in the highest rewards. The secret to going to networking events is to be friendly and genuinely interested in what your peers have to say. The people you meet may not be able to help you, but they could know someone who needs what you have to offer. … Most importantly, remember to bring business cards and collect those of others.

What’s Next?

Follow up and follow through. “Friend” your new “friends,” add them on Twitter, Facebook, and any other appropriate networking site. That way, you stay in their head, and vice versa. Opportunities for networking are everywhere: in the line at the grocery store, at your kid’s school, the hair salon. If you are open to meeting new people, the options are endless.

About the Author:

Debra Eckerling is the creator of Write On! Online, a website and community for writers. Debra, a communications specialist and writing coach, is one of the LA Party hosts for Mediabistro.com. The next Los Angeles Mediabistro Party is on Wednesday, April 27 in Santa Monica. For more information and to RSVP, go to: http://www.mediabistro.com/events/view_event.asp?id=16408

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About jlwylie

Stay at home mom of 2 boys, avid reader and writer. Published by Untold Press

9 thoughts on “Networking for Writers by Guest Author Debra Eckerling

  1. Some of the larger churches in my area have networking events for people seeking jobs. So that’s a place people can check out. There are an overabundance of network marketers there trying to sell you something or get you signed up in a pyramid scheme. But get past these vultures and there’s a large audience to mingle with and talk to.

  2. Donna McDine says:

    Wonderful post and advice. The local community college has an open mike night for both published and apsiring authors every two months. No cost to attend or to grab the mike. It’s a great networking opportunity!

    Regards,
    Donna
    Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog
    The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
    Donna M. McDine’s Website

  3. kathy stemke says:

    Thanks for a great article. Here in the Georgia Mountains we have fairs, many many fairs. You can easily get on the entertainment schedule and read your poetry or an excerpt from your book.

  4. Thanks for your comments everyone. And, thanks, Jen, for having me on your site.

    Fabulous networking suggestions. Keep ’em coming!

  5. Martha says:

    Great advice. Thanks for the post
    Martha

  6. Karen Cioffi says:

    Deb,

    This is wonderful advice. I have to get in gear and seek out networking opportunities in my local area. I have a couple of ideas on creating my own events through willing facilities. I spoke with my local librarian about presenting a children’s writing workshop, but was told they don’t do them in the smaller branches.

    What’s so funny is yesterday, I got a ‘cold call’ from a copywriter seeking work. I laughed and said I’m in the same business. If I wasn’t babysitting at the time I would have tried talking to him a bit more – who knows how making that connection might have panned out.

  7. heidiwriter says:

    Excellent ideas! Thank you for sharing them.

  8. Networking is so important, for all professions, but for writers, who often work in solitary confinement :-), it’s critical. I like the way you’ve categorised the different types of networking.

  9. Thanks, everyone. Yes, the attitude of networking in the places/areas that are most comfortable is key.

    Karen, I have the continuation of that story. I have a friend who is a writer in Georgia, who originally contacted me via email because he was interested in a profile I wrote on a mutual friend/acquaintance. We still haven’t met IRL, but have become friends through email (it was before social media took over), and now he is one of my regular reviewers. So, the secret is … you never know!

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