Saturday, February 20, 2010

Guest Post by Debra Eckerling


Networking for Writers
by Debra Eckerling

Networking is an essential part of any business. And writing is a business! How can you expand your reach if you are not out and about meeting new people? Online communities are great. I am a huge fan of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Plus, I have my own writers website -
Write On! Online - and Facebook Page for promoting community. The key, however, is to meet people in real life, expand your social network, and embrace new opportunities.

Places to Go:


Low-Maintenance:
"Performance Art" is what we call going into a coffeehouse and reading your script or manuscript, working on a laptop: doing some sort of writerly activity - it never fails to draw attention. Pick your favorite coffee house, hole-in-the-wall diner, out-of-the-house workspace, and go there regularly. You may see the same people on a frequent basis and strike up friendships and conversations. When I had a corporate day job, I would take my lunch hour a few times a week in the eating area outside the building next door. I would see the same people every day, have an occasional chat while eating and/or doing my writing, and have enough distance from my office that I could be productive.


Medium-Maintenance:
Take a class, go to a lecture, learn something new. Granted, those of us in Los Angeles and New York have a lot more opportunities: The Writers Store in LA, Writers Guild of America, the Paley Center of New Media, and others have amazing events. Check your public library and/or local bookstore - Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Mom 'n Pop Bookshop - for local author-signings, lectures, and workshops. You can even check the community college for extension courses; Sur La Table and other specialty stores have classes and demos. Look for activities that interest you: do some searching and see what is offered. You never know who you will meet or where it will lead you.


High-Maintenance:

Networking Events, Meet Ups, and Mixers are filled with people actively looking to meet others. If you are outgoing, these situations are a piece of cake; for introverts, not so much. If this is not your cup of tea, that's okay, All I can say is this: give it a shot. Stay 30 minutes or 3 hours. Big crowded events, where you are forced to in a room with total strangers may be overwhelming, but they can also result in the highest rewards.
The secret to going to networking events is to be friendly and genuinely interested in what your peers have to say. The people you meet may not be able to help you, but they could know someone who needs what you have to offer. … Most importantly, remember to bring business cards and collect those of others.

What's Next?

Follow up and follow through. "Friend" your new "friends," add them on Twitter, Facebook, and any other appropriate networking site. That way, you stay in their head, and vice versa.
Opportunities for networking are everywhere: in the line at the grocery store, at your kid's school, the hair salon. If you are open to meeting new people, the options are endless.


Debra Eckerling is a professional writer with expertise in feature articles, corporate communications, and public-speaking. Eight years ago, she founded Write On!, a live - and now online - gathering of writers of all abilities, genres, and specialties. Debra i
s one of the LA hosts for Mediabistro.com's Networking Parties. The next Los Angeles Party is on Tuesday, February 23. For more information and to RSVP, go to Mediabistro.com.

Debra is part of VBT - Writers On the Move Blog Tour. Please check out the VBT Website for more exciting author interviews and expert columns!

16 comments:

DarcĂ­a Helle said...

Thanks for the great tips, Debra!

Dallas said...

Debra, thank you for this wonderful article ... it was a pleasure to have you on my blog! :)

Nancy Famolari said...

Great article. I see what you mean about the different levels of involvement.

The Old Silly said...

Excellent and useful article, Debra. And Dallas, nice job of laying out this feature post, too. :)

Marvin D Wilson

kathy stemke said...

Great tips!! I'm gonna try some of these.

Debra Eckerling said...

You are welcome! So glad you found the info useful.

Thanks, Dallas for hosting me. And thanks, everyone, for stopping by!

Deb

Stephen Tremp said...

"I stand by the chips and dips nodding politely to everyone. I smile with carrot chunks in my teeth" - Holly Ruggiero

I couldn't resist. Reading your blog about high end mixers and a quote left on my blog today - they seem to go together.

Stephen Tremp

Vivian Zabel said...

Excellent advice, Debra. Thanks, Dallas, for having Debra guest blog.

Vivian

Dana Donovan said...

So true, so true. Networking seems a bit like cold-calling. It's a numbers game. The more people you meet, the better chance you have of making the "connection" that pays. Thanks, Debra, for presenting that point in easily digestible segments that make sense.

Martha said...

Thanks for the tips. I always need suggestions on ways to network. That's the hardest part of being a writer.
Martha Swirzinski

Accountant, Author & Freelance Writer said...

This is a great way to explain the levels of networking. I also find that to be the most challenging part of the writing process.

Karen Cioffi said...

Nice breakdown of areas of networking for writers.
Thanks for the ideas!

Great post, Dallas.

Karen

Helena Harper said...

This is a most informative article, Debra - many thanks! (And very easy to read, Dallas.) I hadn't thought so much about networking in 'real life', but it all makes sense and I will now try to be more aware of potential 'networking' opportunities.

Helena
http://www.helenaharper.com

Janet Ann Collins said...

Helpful interview. Thanks.

Helen Ginger said...

Good advice. Gotta get your name and face out there!

Helen
Straight From Hel

Debra Eckerling said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

I happen to love networking and meeting new people - being out there is one of my favorite parts of being a writer! Networking can be fun, you just have to approach it that way!