Thursday, May 24, 2012
Building a Network
To build a network in any social media, the main key is to get involved. Participate, be generous, and talk to people. I’ve met several mentors on the blogs and Twitter, who have been instrumental in helping me launch my publishing career. I also met an editor I love from the blogs … finally.
The support and encouragement we give and get from each other online is invaluable. It’s fantastic and I really treasure it.
However, we should also develop face-to-face, live and in-person networks. Join local writers groups. Find an activity or volunteer opportunity to become entrenched in your community.
Where I live grows writers like weeds. My dinky town (less than 100,000 people) has a writers association, called Central Oregon Writers Guild. We’ve had as high as 90 members. Average is about 70. And not all writers in my area are members. Through this association, I found my critique group. We meet every three weeks at the local Barnes & Noble.
I became involved early, volunteering to be the blog director. End of April, I was the star presenter for our monthly meeting. I taught about the author’s platform and building a blog. At least 40 people showed up. The event and my name with the titles I’ve published were in the local papers, and more than one person told me they drove a long distance just to see me.
I’d also recommend the RWA (Romance Writers of America). I don’t write romance, but they’re a great group of people. Among the most supportive I’ve found. That’s how I met another group of local writers. We get together once a month for lunch and hang out for hours talking about writing, publishing and what we’re working on. Three of them are contracted and make a living at this writing gig. So, it’s a valuable network and as close as I can get to coworkers.
In the summers, I volunteer at a local observatory. (We’re fortunate to have two in the area). The one I work at is part of the University of Oregon. We get thousands of visitors every summer. I meet professors, physicists, local people, tourists, and people who come back once a year because they enjoy what we do so much. We do put on a pretty good show. I always have business cards in my back pocket just in case. This year I’ll have books in the trunk of my car.
Find a way to get involved in your community and meet people. Get visible. You never know who they’ll end up introducing you to. Same principles apply as on the blogs: be supportive, be enthusiastic, be positive, be warm, and be generous.
How do you network?
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About the author:
M. Pax’s inspiration comes from the wilds of Oregon, especially the high desert where she shares her home with two cats and a husband unit. Creative sparks also come from Pine Mountain Observatory where she spend her summers working as a star guide. She writes mostly science fiction and fantasy, but confesses to an obsession with Jane Austen. She blogs at her website, www.mpaxauthor.com and at Wistful Nebuae. You’ll find links there to connect on Twitter, Goodread, FB and other sites.