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.
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Two of my favorite bloggers in one place!
Now, that's networking. :)
Hey Mary! Fancy meeting you here! I rely on the online writing community. Seattle is a notoriously unfriendly place. Must be all grey & rain. It's much nicer online.
Not sure where I'd be without my online community and writing buddies:)
I'm a wee bit envious of how many writers are in your area! I'd love to be surrounded by a bunch of other writers! Then again I guess I need to be more proactive in getting out there & finding these people in my town!
Undoubtedly The Backworlds are interesting beings.
Some excellent advice, loved the fact about books in the car! Must make more of an effort!
Great tips. I've made wonderful internet connections, but haven't worked as hard to meet local writers. I only know a few and don't see them regularly. Must do better!
Excellent advice Mary, although the real world involvement is more scary than the online involvement.
What... are you saying there actually IS an existence beyond the Internet?! Such heresy! (smirk)
Being a mountain man recluse I have lost touch with most of humanity - and I kind of like it that way! But for most your wise words and examples are worth heeding.
OK, I'm going to crawl back under my rock now.
its a nice blog thank you so much i really appreciate the author's work i am happy that i get this blog i keep visiting this blog...
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Community is so important for writers. Thanks for this post. Mary, I just started your book last night and can't wait to read more today.
Lovely to see the amazingly named M Pax!!! Blogging is such a great way to reach out to like minded souls! Take care
There are so many opportunities for networking if we just get out and look.
Good solid information from Mary Pax. Networking is important and can pay good dividends.
Thanks for having me on, Lynda.
Hi Nancy. Really? Unfriendly in the PNW?
Me neither, Tania, but some real life contact is nice, too.
If you have an RWA branch, I'd start there, Trish. They're very friendly and supportive. I don't write romance, but they're a great support system.
I hope they are, Leovi. I thought so when creating them.
Carole Anne. I have a cousin with that lovely name. I should have books later this summer. That'll be exciting.
Luckily, the other writers I hooked up with are more outgoing than I am, Theresa. I learn a lot from our get togethers.
True, Alex. But it's also exhilarating to make those connections and hear applause. I've made several fans from face-to-face meeting.
lol Doug. I guess I'm fortunate that for the most part folks are friendly where I live.
Hi Jacob. Lynda does have a great blog.
Thanks, Clarissa. The little meetings are like having coworkers a few times a month. Writing is lonely otherwise.
Hi Kitty. It is. Blogging and the people in it are fantastic.
There are, Diane.
Great post, Mary! I agree, it's just as important to create real-life writing connections as online ones. I love doing both!
Thanks for hosting, Lynda!
It can, Anthony.
Me, too, Shallee.
Funny, and so true, Alex!
Hi Mary! From one of those face-to-facers, great post! I've enjoyed the support and friendship of the C.O. Writers Guild. I don't know why it took me so long to join. Well, maybe what Alex said ;-) (Speaking of, I won't be there tonight. My son has his last band concert of his school career.)
Kai is my blogging assistant and managed the 4th Grade writing contest this year [hosted by CO Writers Guild). Will miss your happy smile, Kai.
Nice to read about another Oregonian! Haha, a "dinky" town in OR with only 100K people. My town has 7,000 people--my live contact is online or through the Oregon SCBWI. Great article on networking! :)
Great post. Networking is so important. I'm fortunate that my husband is very much a meeter/greeter type. It's helping now.
Waves to Lynda!
Nice topic! I have to admit I don't network enough in the "real" world - it's something I've made some small steps to remedying, but it's taking me a long time to really make headway. There is one local writer's group that meets weekly, but it's at a bad time for me
Nice to see you again, Carol. :) You're right. 100,000 is fairly large for Oregon. We're the biggest this side of the Cascades.
My Husband Unit is, too, Carol. Thank goodness. Some of my writer friends are, too.
Bummer, Tyrean. Other things like volunteering are good ways to network, too.
I'm with you, Trisha. I need to meet with the writers in Sydney more regularly, rather than just at festivals.
On those rare occasions I do meet with the local writers, I tell myself I really should do this more often because it's so great.
Yep, I think that's why online MPGs are so popular
Great post! I attend my local writer's group, but I'm not as involved as I'd like to be. Life just won't allow it right now. I hope to do more later in life. When my kids can take care of themselves a little more.
It's an honour having you, Mary :)
I'm a bit envious of your 100k town. I've never lived in a place that big--the town I'm in right now has barely one thousand people, so sadly, no writers' groups (or anything else, for that matter). At the moment, the only networking I do is through Blogger.
"Be generous"... I love that, thank you!
Life can get in the way, Ciara.
This is the smallest town I've ever lived in, Eagle. I wasn't sure I could deal with it when we moved here.
Hi Robert. That's what it's all about.
Very good suggestions. I always wanted to write but this is the first year I've gotten serious about it. I'm still learning!
Great advice! Thanks for sharing.
Stopping back in to let you know that with your encouragement I finally found a few writing groups I'm going to try out in the next few weeks. Plus, I do volunteer, as well as take my kids to dance classes - so I do network - just not with many writers.
Nice to meet you, M. Always good to know another Oregonian writer. ^_^ Joining SCBWI was a great place to start when I began writing. I've also met a lot of fabulous folks on Twitter, my social network of choice for introductions. Then there are all these wonderful blogs. . .
Hi Honey. Make sure to hang with supportive people then. I think that's very important at the beginning.
Thanks for stopping in, Sherry.
Great for you, Tyrean. Hope you make great new friends.
Hi Angelina. I have friends in SCBWI. Do you know Kai? Another Oregonian. I love Twitter, too. It's great for niche marketing, too.
Congrats, Mary. Excellent post!
Very good advice. I wouldn't trade my online friends for anything, but I also know the value of being involved in the local writing scene. I'm fortunate to have two local writing groups I belong to that sponsor conferences. It's like an ongoing education program for writers. Love it.
Thank you, Laura.
The online community is dear to me, too, LG. With the locals I can make friends. Being in a new town that's a nice thing. :)
I agree that meeting local writers and getting involved in the community is a great idea.
Excellent networking advice. I'm trying to connect with more people in the blogging world and attend conferences. I need to be better though. Thanks for the reminder.
Networking got me where I am today. Rich with wonderful friends around the world. :)
Interesting post, thanks for sharing.
great tips, max!
i know social media eats up so much time but its such a necessary part of marketing nowadays... i also agree about the face to face stuff... its something u cant replicate virtually
Wow, it's so cool that you meet so many scientists and physicists through your observatory work! Community is definitely key. I love my writers groups (two) and my groups that I teach. BTW, I'm 3/4 of the way through reading Backworlds, so I speak with authority when I say M Pax's characters are really interesting, and the entire world she's set up feels real. It's also funny--she has a wry sense of humor that enlivens the story too.
It is, Tonja, especially if you're new to a place, and even if you're not. You just might meet your new best friend.
It's a tough balancing act, Jessica. The Husband Unit is glad I'm less of a hermit though.
A wonderful testimony, Glynis.
Face-to-face takes longer ... maybe, Jeremy. But we have to make those one on one connections in cyberspace, too. That takes time as well.
Sorry I didn't comment before. I actually read this from my phone and hate commenting from there since I'm super slow!!! Glad the tour is going well. I do a lot of my offline networking in critique groups but I feel like I should start attending conferences too.
I slumped on the networking a bit but am picking it back up. I really like blogging - feel like it is the best way for me to really get to know the people without just having a random names and numbers to show people like me. I'm looking for relationships, not numbers :)
Wow, awesome post... thx.
I've done some real life involvement, but I'd like to do more in that area.
My writer friends are mostly online. I do need to find a local group I can hang out with physically, but at the moment, my online writer friends have been fabulous with their support, so it's working for me. Great post!
You know Lynda, just started in our little town was a Writer's Guild. We've met two times now and I like where it is going. I think I'll like having those people who enjoy the same interst of writing!
I sometimes wish I lived in Oregon--I am always hearing about all the authors in that area! The networking where I'm at is pretty scant, and I really envy your in-person networks!
Fantastic post and great tips.
I would like to attend more sci-fi conventions now, Libby. Someday ...
All the networking became so valuable on this release. It's worth the effort. Honestly.
I'd like to do more about meeting my audience, Medeia.
The online folks are fabulous, Cherie. But it's also nice to have people to call, have coffee with, or see a movie with.
That's great, Tracy.
I'm as grateful for them as the online network, Meradeth.
I would like to be more involved in my community, but it's something I'm not good at... Being involved without letting my time be all consumed.
Hello Mary and Lynda.
Great tips and advice. Social media is good but getting involved in communities is way better.
That's so brilliant to hear! I'd love to hear how it goes.
I can relate to slow phones... ;)
Thanks for taking the time to pop back and comment.
It does make a massive difference to have that live contact with people with the same interests.
It's a fine balance.
Yay for Mary and Backworlds! And yay for finding editors we love--*wink* :D
What a great post filled w/helpful information! I think the key is right here: be supportive, be enthusiastic, be positive, be warm, and be generous.
True words! Thanks, guys~
I'm a bad networker. I admit it.
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