Every writer needs to build professional relationships with other writers, editors and agents in order to move forward in the publishing industry. In this day and age, social media might take the number one spot as a relationship building tool, but making connections in person still remains just as important. Building professional relationships requires of you to demonstrate reasonable business ethics and principals. Another important aspect is keeping those relationships going, especially with editors, with whom you should always be polite and become their asset when another writer fails to deliver.
1. Introduce yourself at social events
Cocktail parties, writing events like book festivals, workshops and writers’ meet-ups are places where one can meet a lot of other writers, editors, and agents from the publishing industry. When going to such events, start slow and aim to meet one person at a time, without being shy to introduce yourself. Start locally, through colleges with a Creative Writing program in your area. Belonging to an online community has its benefits, of course, but sometimes, nothing can beat the old face-to-face conversation.
2. Attend readings
Local readings, book launches, and library events are often attended by editors of magazines, reviewers, and journalists who can be writers themselves in turn. Find out who they are and the date, place and time of their appearance. Keep in mind that you’re going there only to make connections – not to try to pitch your book to an editor, and this is important, especially if the editor is the writer hosting the event. It is alright to say that you are a writer yourself and to mention what you are working on, but only if the conversation naturally flows that way. You can always follow up the meeting with a call or an email with a compliment on their work or reading. This will put your name on their radar, which can be highly useful down the road.
3. Be an asset
Increase your integrity and respect by helping other writers and editors when they are in need, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance as well. Be honest, and work hard when they need you, and always offer assistance in matters you are experienced in. This way of exchanging help on specific matters will ensure a positive development of your professional relationship with them.
4. Use social media
Social media websites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect for making connections, along with blogs. Twitter’s casual manner allows you to get in touch with the right people a lot easier than Facebook and LinkedIn. On Twitter, follow the right people, and catch their eye by keeping with the 80/20 rule, a rule that states that in order to catch other people’s eye on Twitter is to post 20% about you, and the rest about everything and everyone else. This way you gather followers who will be there for you when you post about your book or need an advice on something.
5. Be realistic
Don’t oversell yourself when meeting other people. Be honest and assess your work. If you don’t feel confident in it, if you don’t think it’s perfect and ready for a bigger audience, keep writing and focus on building professional relationships in the meantime. This way, when the time finally comes for your work to be met by the wider world, you will already have established the necessary contacts to help you with it. Once you publish, forget about doubt and embarrassment and don’t let anything hold you back.
Image credit: Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic.
As a 22-year-old art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.