Building Up Your Author Support Network
Part of the Writing Fiction For Dummies Cheat Sheet
If you’ve finished writing a novel but aren’t published yet, you should have two goals: to make sure your novel is as good as it can be and to market yourself to agents and editors who can help you get published. Networking can help you with both of them.
Start by attending writers’ groups, writing conferences, Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs, and other formal writer gatherings. They’re great for building a support network for any aspiring writer. Here are some good reasons to connect with the people who attend these gatherings:
You can get help with your writing (and help other writers). Thinking of other writers as your competition is a misconception. They’re not; you are your competition. Other writers can give you creative feedback and help make your novel even better. You’ll be able to help other writers, too. Giving and receiving feedback can be fun, and you may gain some valuable friends who can hook you up with agents and editors.
You get to hang out with other writers. The blunt truth is that novelists are some of the coolest people on the planet. Some of your most enthusiastic marketers may be the novelist friends you met at conferences. If your writing is up to snuff, your friends will be only too happy to make connections for you.
You’ll learn more about the publishing world. You’re bound to find out something totally unexpected that you didn’t even know that you didn’t know. The more you know about the publishing world, the more likely you are to break in.
You’ll likely meet editors and agents. Agents and editors are usually present at conferences. Agents can tell you things that editors can’t, and editors can tell you stuff the agents don’t know.
Once in a very great while, a deal is made. You may make a connection that leads to a deal — or make a connection that leads to a connection that leads to a deal. Deals come from relationships. Relationships come by serendipity. Serendipity is oozing all over the floor when you meet up with other writers, and it’ll seep right up through your shoes if you let it.