Saturday, July 16, 2011

Second Step to Networking

In the last post, I said the number one step in Successful Networking is to Listen.

Networking isn't just trying to sell yourself or your book. A major part of networking is paying attention to others. But to pay attention to others, you have to meet them.

Step Two in Successful Networking:
Get up from your computer and put yourself out there. You have to meet and talk with other people.

In the case of book signings, sure, you want readers to buy your book. What you don't want them to do is take your book just to escape from you, then drop it on a table somewhere else in the store. You want them to feel like they have a rapport with you through this personal meeting. They not only buy this book, but look for future books.

When you go to conferences and workshops, you never know who you're going to meet. That nondescript woman sitting next to you at lunch could be the fabulous editor you've been searching for to go over your manuscript before you send it in to an agent. But you'll never know that if you spend the whole meal talking about yourself and don't even bother to exchange business cards or find out about her.

That guy you bump into in the hall at work or sit next to on the plane could be more than just clumsy. He might be an expert in forensics or quilting or beekeeping or that topic in your book that you really need expert advice on. How will you know that if you don’t take the initiative to meet and talk with him?

If you’re ePublishing, put yourself out on the Internet. Join groups where you can meet people and promote (see my post on July 9th).

So, another big part of Successful Networking for the author is talking with other people. That’s different from talking to people. Meet them. Get to know something about them.


  1. Very excellent points, Helen.

  2. For most of us, this is not easy. I've gotten less shy over the years, but there are some who are just naturally outgoing (like my husband). The rest of us, though, can do it.

  3. Good advice, especially taken with the previous post to listen. Engaging with others is such a two-way activity.

  4. You're so right! It's hard as a naturally shy person, but so important!

  5. My guess is that there are more of us naturally shy people out there than there are the naturally outgoing personalities. That's a good thing to keep in mind, I think. We can reach out to each other - and no one is going to bite off our heads.

  6. I figured this out before I started writing, back when I was still fairly shy. I went to two parties where the hostess had tried to get people to mingle. At one party, we given a name badge and asked to write three interesting things about ourselves on it. At the other, a badge with a famous person's name was placed on our back and we had to find out, via Yes or No questions, who we were. Guess which one was more successful at getting us all talking? In general, people don't want to know who you are as much as they want to talk about who they are.

  7. The nice part about your networking tips is that they work perfectly for shy people! Working from #2 to #1, you ask people about themselves and then listen. Not only can you learn things for later use (your expert in something example) or make valuable connections (your agent example), YOU don't have to do any more talking than you're comfortable with! :)

    One fascinating thing I've learned is how many "worlds" there are out there. Ask an accountant about accounting (which most people think of as a dull occupation) and LISTEN and ask questions, and you'll find a whole world of nuance and pressure and moral ambiguities and forensic opportunities. It's wild!

    Hmmm.... I think you've just given me a blog post!

    Marian Allen
    Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

  8. Very good advice, Helen, especially for those of us who are basically shy.

  9. That's interesting, Gayle. I've been to a party of writers where we wore a famous author's name on our backs and we had to guess who we were based on tidbits of info that others gave us.

    Go for it, Marian!

    A lot of writers tend to be shy, Jean. At least that's what I've seen. It makes sense since we tend to work alone for many hours each day.

  10. I'm not out there much in the real world, but online, I try to be friendly and talk to others.

  11. I wish I could find more conferences nearby. Perhaps when I retire from my day job I'll be able to travel more.

  12. Alex, you are very likeable. That's the impression I get when I visit your blog.

    Susan, if you don't already have a group of writer friends close by, start one. Great things can come of that kind of group. You help each other and when one moves forward, the others tend to do so as well since they can see/learn what worked. I think of these groups as support or connect groups.

  13. I am extremely shy in groups of people where I don't know anyone. Even in groups where I do know folks, I usually find one or two people to talk with. In the beginning I joined lots of groups online, but slowly, I've drifted back to being alone with my computer, blogging and writing and an occasional Facebook entry. Sigh!This is such good advice, wish I could follow it.

  14. You're not giving yourself enough credit, Karen. You visit other blogs and leave comments. And you're doing a blog tour - that's a big deal. Did you know that you can automatically send a post to your Facebook page whenever you put a post on your blog? And you can also have an automatic tweet sent when you post on your blog. Those are small things, but they add a bit to your online presence.

  15. Good point, Helen. Conferences cost some serious dollars. It makes no sense at all to go and not talk to anyone.

    I can work a room full of people and was trained to do so (but it wipes me out), but the first thing you can do is get to know the people at your table or sitting beside you. A smile and a warm hello go a long way. Everyone has that in their arsenal.

    You attend workshops or seminars, make it a point to thank the presenters for their work. You'll have a chance to meet others in the group mulling around them.

    Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

  16. Same rules apply to science. And science I know how to do this in science, I might apply the same approach to writing ... if my so-called novel ever gets finished >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  17. Very good tip, Sia!

    You'd better hurry up, Cold. You have a lot of people waiting.

  18. I agree. I try not to be pushy at my signings. One day I gave my bookmark to a fellow, and we started talking. I found out he was from Alaska, which was where my wip at the time was set. He didn't buy my book, but he helped me a great deal with my research of the area. I consider him a friend. Great post!


  19. I hope I don't scare people do dump my book and flee the store! It's a balance between being friendly and pushy.

  20. I meet all sorts of interesting people on my street corner ... when they are willing to make eye contact, that is.

  21. Great post - getting out and listening are both vital. I'm always chatting to total strangers and you know what? It almost always turns out to be a good idea.
    Jan Morrison


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