I’ve been blathering on about all the things you’re supposed to do in order to publish your book. I was going to jump into Writer platforms (which are neither train stops nor shoes which make you taller). I forgot something very important: networking.
There’s a lot of negativity around the term “networking” in the artistic world. (Don’t even think about bringing it up in Figmentland.) It brings up high-powered executives jostling with each other to get the best end of a deal. That’s not how it should be, especially in the creative world.
Networking is, at its very best, making friends who do the same thing you do (or something in the same realm) and then working together to support each other. It means taking steps to help others instead of viewing them as your competition. The best thing about networking is that it levels the playing ground for independent writers. If you network, you have as strong a reach as any traditionally published author.
There’s a lot said about building a platform. I’m going to say some of it, in fact, next week. That’s important. But far more important is building your network.
I belong to an online writer’s group. In that group, there are those who regularly post about themselves and their achievements. All well and good. Occasionally I check on these. There are others, however, who regularly take time to post about others, help others, or do things that further writing in general. These are the people who I will go to bat for (which would be useless, mind, because I am terrible at games). These are the people I’m going to encourage you, my Readers, to look into.
Ronnie Virdi, who publishes under the pen name R.R. Virdi, is the author of Grave Beginnings, available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle formats. While the book itself is a great read and I look forward to watching him progress as a writer, it’s Ronnie’s enthusiasm for other Writers that really has me hooked. He goes out of his way to promote others, spending his Fridays citing other writers instead of himself. As a result, people pay attention to him. He helps other Writers and other Writers want to help him.
One way you can tell that Jeffrey Cook knows how to network is by seeing how many times he’s published with other Writers. Out of his eight books on Amazon, he is co-published with other Writers seven times. Even more than writing with others, though, Jeffrey is always open to answering questions, encouraging other Writers, or getting involved in projects. More than once I’ve seen him post “Just tell me what you need” and then follow through with it. He has networking down to an art.
Lazette Gifford is not only an incredible Writer, she goes out of her way to teach Writers, offering a two-year Writer course. She’s taken everything she’s learned in her prolific career and made it available to others. Again, she truly understands the meaning of networking.
This is the kind of networking I seek to build. It’s hard, being a Figment, since I get distracted by little things like Nana Romo wanting me to get her new running shoes and giving me directions that involve hunting down a tumerbic scarb on the way, but everyone has their distractions. Some of you have families. Some have school or Work. It all comes down to the main point of Goals: why do you want this and how much do you want it?
My biggest goal as a Writer-Figment is never fame for myself, but to be able to say that I helped someone else get to where they are. That, my Writerly friends, is networking.
Who reflects networking for you? Give them a shoutout.