Networking as a Writer
There is no doubt that being a writer is a solitary pastime, but there are many benefits to networking with other writers. Subscribing to mailing lists and the social media pages of forums and organisations can keep you alerted to literary events that will interest you:
- Open mic evenings,
- writing workshops led by professional writers,
- book launches,
- author talks and
- annual literature festivals.
The benefits of these are as follows:
- Learn about writing opportunities (publication and competitions)
- Keep abreast of ‘trends’ in the writing world
- Be inspired by other writers
- Share triumphs and tribulations with one another
- Mix with like-minded people
- Hone your own craft of writing
- Write in a variety of environments
- Have the opportunity to respond to different inspirations
- Gain feedback on your work
Whilst this is all good, in terms of you networking as a writer, it is only one half of it. Social media offers a bigger writing world, reaching far beyond your locality. The aforementioned factors are still relevant, but in a less personal way. Social media can be a writers’ ‘enemy’ if not controlled. It can be a bit of a ‘time-stealer,’ however the benefits of having a presence and interacting on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are as follows:
- You can offer proof to agents and publishers that you can promote yourself and your writing.
- Before work is even published, you can gain a following of potential readers.
- You will learn about national and international events and opportunities.
- You may be invited to take part in literary events or know of chances to apply to.
- You will be part of a large supportive community where one another’s achievements are celebrated.
- When writing in solitude you will feel less alone knowing that you are amongst a network of others doing the same thing.
- You will often be inspired by other stories of success and the ‘sharing’ of inspirational quotes and anecdotes.
It is advisable to consider the following before you begin to market yourself as a writer:
- Which social media platform(s) do you wish to frequent? Instagram is pictorial and largely appeals to under 25’s. Twitter is advantageous for those short of time as the maximum Tweet only allows for 160 characters. Facebook is now largely used by people over 35.
- Are you planning to host a website? This is a necessity. Readers need somewhere they can learn more about you and buy your book.
- Business cards. You need to have something to be able to give out to people who show an interest in you and your work. Don’t rely on them to be able to remember your name. Better still, take theirs.
- Have some generic questions prepared to ask of other writers. Networking is a two-way street and you will stick in someone’s mind when you show an interest in them and their work.
- Be able to summarise the pitch for your book in no more than two sentences. The most commonly asked question of writers is ‘What’s your book about?’
For more support and help on reaching your dreams as a novelist, visit www.writeanovelinsixmonths.com