Aloha from Karen. It’s a beautiful day on Maryland’s eastern shore. This is one of my granddaughters reminding me that time spent with someone is important and we should make the most of those moments.
It’s also been a great week where a few aspiring writers have written to thank me and let me know results of networking and I have also seen fruits from networking.
I’ve received emails recently from one new writer friend because I passed on information to connect her to a friend who directs a ministry that fits with her writing topic. Jackie followed up and will have two articles published with the ministry and has made a great new friend with a common interest. Another writer listened when I spoke at a conference, followed up on my suggestions, and sold several columns. I received a new book I wrote with a ministry (Walking in Grace Bible study) that flowed from networking with the president of the ministry and an editor at the publishing house.
Those are a small sample of benefits I’ve seen and received with networking. It’s all part of what God wants us to do and Paul talks about as being part of the body of Christ. Networking forms a chain of endless connections. I’ll share a few examples and share ideas on how to get the most from networking.
It may not seem like my grandchildren fit with my network of writers, but I write for children so it’s important to hear what readers say and discover what they like. I write for parents and anecdotes about that sweet little girl have ended up in my writing. Relationships are at the heart of networking.
When I met Carol, president of First Place4Health, I never expected to write for her ministry and didn’t know they needed more Bible study writers. I also didn’t know my editor friend Steve Lawson had anything to do with First Place4Health. God orchestrated those connections and I’m grateful. It’s better to build the connection than try to force something to happen.
As treasurer of CAN is see our members networking all the time. They promote one another’s books and announce when a member friend has received an award. They partner up as I’m doing on a future book with member friend Jocelyn Green. There’s value in joining great groups.
On faculty at conferences I see the value of networking. Aspiring writers who have teamed up to form critique groups have encouraged one another right into publication. Agents have observed aspiring writers and taken them on as clients. I met my agent at a conference and she is a pro at networking. She introduced me to numerous editors, placed my books, and helped me learn more about networking.
I love the enthusiasm of Paul as he introduced his friends to one another. He boasted about their talents and abilities and mentioned how someone could be a great help. I love to follow his example and connect people. Make the most of every opportunity. Greet people you meet as part of the body of Christ. Get to know people, not as possible sales possibilities, but to know them as individuals. Listen well and find connections.
I met an editor at a conference who clicked with me. We had a great time talking. It was the second conference I had ever attended. Then she asked what I thought I could write for her publication. I couldn’t see any possibility but she kept nudging me to think about it. It was a business magazine for the trade side of publishing. I prayed for an idea and one immediately popped into my mind (God is so creative). I pitched the idea and it became my first feature article.
Go beyond any rejections. Editors who reject you will be at future conferences and events. Editors move around to other publishing houses. One of my late editors, Dan Penwell, contacted me as soon as he moved to a new house and invited me to submit there. At first I didn’t see how my work could fit in, but I’m always up for a challenge and network possibility. We came up with an idea and he contracted two books. That led to another networking story.
I met another editor at that house (AMG), He had me rewrite a proposal and then had to reject it. I saw him a few weeks after receiving the rejection and greeted him with a smile and asked about his family. We chatted a few minutes and he expressed regret about the rejection and gave me a reason related to what was selling well at the publishing house. Then he invited me to consider submitting something for one of their other divisions. I tossed out the only thing I thought I could write in that area and he liked it. Several months later I showed him a new proposal, based on our discussion. He liked it and is now issuing a contract.
There’s no end to the networking I’ve seen and done. I’ve had books and articles published because of aspiring writers I met who later had something published and networked to have me get to know the editors they met.
The key is not forcing networking, but being friendly and enjoying getting to know people. It’s also important to be open, pick up on possibilities, and pray for God to work out the details.
Get thee to a conference , join groups, and start listening and talking! Be a networker extraordinaire!