I don’t know if I’ve discussed this before, but I’ll be the first to admit that I am terrible at networking. If my life depended on networking, I’d be one of the first to die. Social interactions take a lot of work for me, and I’m sure for others. People say that networking is important, though, and sometimes it can yield unexpected results.
In writing, it’s important to network simply to get your name out there. Writing is all well and good, but if you want to sell anything, people have to know who you are. Sure, you can slap something up on Kindle and see how it sells. Sometimes it works. Some people have had great success doing that, but for most of us, it takes time to build a readership. We’re lucky in that we have access to the internet that makes networking a lot easier than it was in the past. It’s easy to email someone and ask for advice or comment on a blog and start conversation with someone you don’t even know.
Networking can get you places. It can get your name in blogs, in newspapers, onto publisher’s desks. One step in the door can take you ten steps further.
Personally, I hate networking. It’s generally tedious and a lot of small talk (which I am absolutely the worst at), but it can be good for your career and your life. It can help you when you’re down, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and see what happens. You may make a fool of yourself, but that’s how life is sometimes. Sometimes you’ve just got to suck it up and keep going. Here are a few ways you can build up your network and meet new people:
- Social networking: with the internet, it’s easy to get into contact with almost anyone. People have facebook profiles, twitters, linkedIn, and everything else. Contact people you’re interested in networking with and be genuine in your approach. Don’t just talk to them to brag about yourself and not listen to them.
- Face to face: meeting people, actually going to see them and talk to them can really help build your circle. You never quite know who you might run into out and about.
- Through other people: if you know one person, that person knows other people who know other people and the circle gets bigger and bigger.
It isn’t easy to talk to other people, especially about something personal like your writing, but learning how to do it is an acquired skill that will help you in the long run.