Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Networking: Not Just For Used Car Salesmen*

First off, a huge congrats to Veronica for her book deal! (See yesterday's post.)We're super excited to have her with us, and that feeling was there BEFORE said book deal.

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.


Kathleen said...

Networking is so important. One of the reasons I was excited when my agent requested a full was that another AW member had met her at a conference and quite liked her.

houndrat said...

Awesome post, Holen--you've captured what netwokring "should" be really, really well.

That's the great thing about being part of the big, wonderful community that is YA--we get to help and learn from each other, and share--both rejections and successes!

P.S. My hubs was used car salesman of the month when he worked at a lot during college. Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't be sharing that. :D

Shelley Watters said...

Congratulations to Vee on her book deal. I saw the previous post but never got the time to comment.

I feel that networking is also important when it comes to gaining readers (in addition to the publishing networking, it's nice to have a following before your book even comes out). Word of mouth is an amazing thing!

Kay said...

Networking? So, you mean all the time I spend on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter isn't wasted?

I'll keep your ideas in mind. I might even be able to implement them someday.

Veronica Roth said...

(Thanks Shelley!)

Great post, Holen! I used to think of networking that way, too. Now I think it's more about having a genuine interest in knowing and supporting people. It definitely doesn't hurt that they support you in return, but that's not all it's about.

Plus, no one wants to feel dirty.

Jamie B said...

Oh networking! The fun part! Except when you're in a bad mood - then no networking that day. LOL!

houndrat said...

Well, sometimes feeling dirty can be...oh, wait. This isn't THAT type of blog.


Marquita Hockaday said...

Jamie, I know EXACTLY what you mean. Some days you just wanna curl up in bed and read a book instead of network :) But on the days when I'm not being a lazy fool, I do enjoy networking, reading blogs and spending hours upon hours on Twitter. Great post!

Annie McElfresh said...

Ah the social scene of the biz! So True Holen! You have to know people to get remembered in the biz. Agents I talk to at conferences LOOOOOOOOVE to see newbie writers out there, making connectons, before they land their agent. Agents look at it like, 'Whoa, this person is serious, better snatch them up.' :D

Sumayyah said...

Awesome post, guys! I'm still kind of shy about the networking thing, haha - but I'm working on it. :D

Jess said...

Great post! I've recently discovered the power of the whole networking thing, too, and let me tell you, it is FABULOUS!! I'm usually on the receiving end because I have exactly zero experience to share, but I cannot wait for the day when I will be able to help other aspiring authors. Thanks for the inspiration!

J.S. Wood said...

That is how I found my super-awesome friends and betas. "Hey, I'd love to beta your work." And I did, and got to know them. Plus I have this nice little list of people who have said they'd reciprocate when I need it in a nice little folder, haven't used several of them :)

Great post, Holen!

LM Preston said...

Networking is a definate must do. However, I love networking because I simply just love people. As an author I get my best material from those I hang around.

JEM said...

Blogging is another form of networking, which I've had to learn. You have to get out there to meet people and for people to meet you.

Jamie B said...

And Holen - Look at you busting out the Ayn Rand. <3

Hmath said...

Jamie, isn't Dagney's brother & his friends one of the first things you think about (and shudder at) with networking? Maybe that's just me.
Are you the one I beta'd for because of the Ayn Rand mention on the AW profile questions?