Sometimes – It’s Who You Know
Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
Earlier this month at PubSmart, I co-taught a workshop on “setting yourself up for success” at the conference. I offered the idea that the participants’ most important connections would be with their fellow writers, not the agents, editors, or other professionals.
Other writers are your fellow pilgrims on the writing-and-publishing journey—the ones who can still be there for you five or ten years into your writing career. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of building genuine relationships with writers who are in a similar place as you on the writing path.
We in the publishing world spend a lot of time talking about things like:
• The best thing you can do for your platform is write a great book.
• Publishing isn’t about who you know, but what you write.
For the most part, these are true statements. Nevertheless, networking with other authors can be tremendously valuable:
• Sharing the journey gives you access to information you might not have had otherwise.
• Author friends can share marketing ideas and offer endorsements.
• Hanging with other authors (online or in real life) gives you encouragement that you’re not alone in this crazy writing life.
• At the right time, a recommendation from a writing friend to an agent or publisher can change your life.
Like all agents and publishers, I receive far more submissions than I can say “yes” to. But occasionally, one of my clients or colleagues will email me independently with a recommendation for a particular writer. I trust that they’re giving the referral because they believe the writer is ready for publication and that they’d be a fit for me. So when the writer’s submission comes through, I’ll give it more attention. A large percentage of my new clients come with referrals or recommendations from someone I already know.
Don’t underestimate the potential value of knowing other writers. You never know when it might come in handy. Writers’ conferences, writers’ groups, critique groups, local writer organizations, and online hangouts such as Absolute Write can all be places to begin networking. And this blog is a great start!
Of course, knowing all the right people won’t do you a bit of good if you haven’t paid attention to the most important thing: writing well. But once you can do that, your relationships might make a difference in your publishing journey.
Are you friends or critique partners with other writers? What do you think of the idea that it can help you?
Sometimes in publishing, who you know can make a difference. Click to Tweet.
Yes, you need to write well – but networking is also important. Click to Tweet.