Who You Know Can Make a Difference

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

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 for a few reasons.

  • Sharing the journey gives you access to information you might not have had otherwise.
  • 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 other publishing friends will email me independently with a recommendation for a particular writer. I trust that they’re only giving the referral because they truly 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.

In fact, many of my new clients come with referrals or recommendations. Often, they have a terrific blog to which others have directed my attention. Or maybe they’re in a writers’ group with someone who knows me.

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 writer’s groups can all be places to begin networking.

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 just might make a difference in your publishing journey.

Are you friends or critique partners with other writers? How does it help you?

Image copyright: oneinchpunch / 123RF Stock Photo

19 Responses

Leave a Reply

  1. Knowing God makes the biggest difference of all. Too ill to say more, but I figure I got it covered, there.

  2. Hanging with other authors is good for so many reasons. Bur for a while, it seemed that my blog was only reaching other authors. I’m delighted that my words are now being read by people I don’t know.

  3. Terry Whalin says:


    Thank you for these wise words about who you know. I’ve seen this play out over and over in my own publishing life. As you say, excellent writing is a key foundation but then the right relationship is critical. You never know who you might meet and continue to relate with occasionally who could become a critical piece of your publishing process.


  4. Thank you for sharing the basics. Write. Surround yourself with writers. In August I’m beginning a writers’ group at the public library. It’s a step forward on an already great path. I’ll be recommending your blog to the group.

  5. Sometimes it truly is who you know, that defines your life. And it can be on short acquaintance.
    * Half a lifetime ago I looked into the eyes of someone I did not save, and across the miles and across the years I have, every waking day and every dreaming night, looked into those doomed eyes in which I found both indictment and absolution.
    * When I am tempted to ingratitude, or to the meanness of spirit that would make me overlook the graces that fill my life, this calm and severely merciful memory of my own inaction and undeserved forgiveness brings me up short, choking and gasping hard against the chain of my own pettiness. I will never know peace in this life; but I will never lack purpose.

  6. Carol Ashby says:

    Whether it’s science, business, or writing, who you know matters. What matters at least as much is who you can help. One of the most satisfying things about being “successful” in your career is the opportunity to open doors for people coming along behind you. Sometimes those people surge past you, and they end up reaching down to help you as well.
    *Although I’m doing better than I expected, there will be no NYT best-sellers for me. But I’ll still have lots of opportunities to help. I’ve already learned enough about what works and what doesn’t to have something to offer others. I love sharing what I can. I’ve also been blessed with getting to know some people who help me. My critique partner (met through a writing blog) is a treasure. This blog has played a big role in connecting me with other writers, and I thank you for that!

  7. This is one of the great things about going to a conference every year for 13 years. Sure, a writer hopes to get their big break. But more often, the years just add up. To experience and a bunch of people in the industry that you know and trust and a whole lot of learning. All of this is so valuable, over the course of time. We shouldn’t underestimate the growth that can occur in small increments year after year until finally that amazing year that it all comes together and you are ready.

  8. Perhaps a corollary to “who you know” is being known to others:
    God will know us not for the summits we scale, but for the fellow climbers for whom we hold belay that they may reach the heights of which we can only dream.

  9. Many of my connections to other writers came from this blog. Many of those connections have developed into deep friendships.
    One connection in particular led me to my Navajo mentor and advisor, which led to other connections, which led to even more connections.
    If it’s in His will, God will make a way. How do I know this? Well, I would have sat down with the Navajo Vice President last October if I hadn’t met Kiersti Giron on this blog several years ago.

  10. Jenny Leo says:

    I’d be lost without my writer friends. Who else truly understands the quiver in my voice when I say, “My editor’s notes are sitting in my inbox and I’m afraid to open the e-mail”?

  11. Yes!!! It has been so encouraging for me to get to know other authors and writers, whether it be in a place like this, a group of other contributors to a publication or blog, or others who write inmy genre. I love learning from them, suporting them, and encouraging one another. And several connections have lead to blessings in my
    Life that never would have materialized otherwise.

  12. CJ Myerly says:

    This is one of the reasons I can’t wait to go to a conference. It’ll be nice to meet other writers in person. Through the ACFW critique group, I’ve made some friends with my crit partners and I’ve learned so much. I hope to meet them in person someday. It’s been nice having other writers to talk to.

  13. Writing is a solitary business, but writers are communicators. When we get together in person or online we understand each other as no “normal” people can. That’s why I love writers conferences and blogs like this one. Thanks for keeping us connected.