Yes, Networking is Crucial

Years ago, I talked about using social media for promoting one’s work and oneself as a writer, which has become even more important because of COVID. But promotion and marketing are but a part of something more important for life as a writer: networking. The more connections you make, the better your chances are at improving your odds. And something else I’ve learned is that networking consists of so much more than social media. While technology has been playing an increasing role in life even before COVID, face-to-face interaction is still a vital part of networking, and one I think all writers crave and have missed during this pandemic.

I still have vague memories of the first time I went to a meeting of the Maryland Writers’ Association years ago. I was nervous at first, but I quickly realized I needed to return. And I have had no regrets since then. I’ve become friends with many writers, and I realized I am not alone. It was at a meeting of the Annapolis Chapter of the MWA where I learned of Mockingbird Lane Press from another author, and that’s how I came to submit Mystical Greenwood to them and was subsequently offered a contract.

Events like meetings and writers’ conferences are great ways to meet new people, pitch your work, and if your work is already published, to promote and even sell copies. There are also critique groups too. One can join one or start a group and have beta readers who can offer a fresh pair of eyes. I’ve always enjoyed those offered by the Maryland Writers’ Association, and I hope to go back to them when it’s safe to do so again. While it is certainly possible do all of these things online, it isn’t the same as actually meeting fellow writers and shaking their hands.

Returning to my point about technology vs. face-to-face, with the former, which has increased due to COVID, there is, I have learned in years past, the chance that words and messages can be misinterpreted, and one cannot be sure as to what a person’s tone is. As a result, through my own personal mistakes, connections, related to writing and not, have been broken. Promotion via social media has also at times backfired. But even then, face-to-face interactions can go wrong too. In all cases, one has to be careful, and take responsibility for one’s mistakes and actions.

But the thing I’ve had to learn the hard way, as stinging as it feels, is that if someone doesn’t want to connect with you, or wants to break it off, you have to let it go. No one can be forced to connect or to stay connected for that matter. That’s another lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way. One can only invite/ask people. They cannot be forced to do what they don’t want to do.

Another lesson I learned the hard way is the importance of having business cards. I didn’t have any when I sold copies of Mystical Greenwood at the 2018 Maryland Writers’ Conference, and I knew afterwards I had to have them. I’ve been glad of it ever since.

So, if you aren’t already, I hope you’ll consider following me on this site, as well as on social media!

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Goodreads

You can also follow my Amazon page!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon JP
Amazon ES | Amazon IT | Amazon BR | Amazon MX

19 thoughts on “Yes, Networking is Crucial

  1. Pingback: Yes, Networking is Crucial – JamieAdStories

  2. Hi Andrew, this is a good post. You make a good point about networking and face-to-face interaction being better than on-line interactions. I have noticed this a lot with my work. There are very few writing group opportunities here in South Africa and not many people buy books or read here, I think its because our weather is so good and people prefer outdoors activities. I am limited largely to on-line marketing because of this as most of my book sales are not in South Africa, but I can clearly see the benefits you describe in the UK and America.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Delighted to follow you across your plethora of outlets! Social media is a lovely tool to have on hand for networking, especially if it is used with the right frame of mind. I love that you share a little bit about what you have learned as a writer so far, and hope you continue to learn and grow. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. What a good post, Andrew. I agree with you about the misunderstandings that can come about on social media. I recently made a comment about how we cannot hear tone of voice, see body language or facial expressions in a written comment. I think the addition of an emoji can help, but it’s not ideal. Face to face is better where possible.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderful, timely post, Andrew. It’s a hit and miss business for sure, and we’ve learned a lot during our journey. So glad we connected out in cyber-space. Wink. One great tip for your business cards is to stick them in your books when you’ve made a sale. It’s just another way of connection! Cheers and be well, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So true! Networking is important and as you say, doing it online can lead to miscommunications – I have found it’s necessary to be completely clear online to reduce the risk of issues – but as you said, they still happen.

    I am still not yet brave enough to visit conferences and events (though we don’t have lots here) Maybe after the pandemic has ended I will take a look further afield for such things. I have already stretched my wings with the podcast, maybe face to face meetings at events would be the next big step.

    Excellent post, Andrew. And a very good point about the business cards 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Writing vs. Marketing—Balancing the Scales | Andrew McDowell

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