This news ties nicely into my topic today, because until a few months ago, I didn't "get" networking. In fact, I still hold an Ayn Randian view of people who rely on who they know rather than what they can do.
My old interpretation of people who network:
"Hi, Vee. Nice book deal you have there. We should be friends." = I now need you to beta everything I've ever written and then refer me to your agent.
Doesn't that just feel dirty?
My enlightened understanding of networking: "Hi SusieQCoolness. Nice concept. Have you entered Agent So-and-So's annual contest yet?"
See the difference?
Not just the taking vs. giving, but the idea of glomping onto success vs. spreading opportunity. Networking is actually about sharing needs when you run across them. It's also about sharing some of what you learned from your greenhorn mistakes. "No! Don't have your MC look into a mirror and critique her looks!" "No! Don't test email yourself a query to check format and then forward that query that worked to the agent. Forwarding an email messes w/ format too and they'll see little arrows or whatever."
Here's what made it click for me. A very nice person had read my last MS and told me to query Agent Fabulous, who'd read a full of hers before and given really helpful comments. She thought that my writing style matched up with what Agent Fabulous liked, based on her interaction with that agent. This wasn't a referral. I didn't used Nice Person's name. But I took her advice, and it got me a request of my own.
Things like that. Pretty awesome, and everyone gets a much clearer picture of opportunity when we share our 20/20 hindsight.
*My apologies to used car salesmen everywhere. I've never actually bought a brand-new car, so please don't doubt that I'm glad you exist.