Tuesday, July 3, 2007

On Writing: Networking 101

Awhile back I mentioned I would blog about ‘networking’ the week prior to the National RWA Conference. Today, Jude reminded me that RWA is next week. I’m not attending this year due to work and deadline related conflicts so I didn’t have it marked on my calendar. I can’t believe it’s next week!

For those who are unfamiliar, RWA stands for Romance Writers of America. It’s a national organization, supporting writers of romantic fiction, 9,500 members strong, according to the website.

I’m one of the 9,500.

The conference is huge and fabulous, overwhelming and for many, intimidating. Difficult to sum up a whirlwind week of non-stop, brain-busting, adrenaline-charged, career-slanted activity, so I borrowed this snippet from the RWA website.

Enhance your writing and knowledge of the ins and outs of publishing at more than 100 workshops; get the inside track and let your voice be heard at panels and round-tables featuring publishing professionals; schedule a one-on-one pitch meeting with an acquiring editor or literary agent; attend parties and network with the stars of romance fiction; and be a part of RWA's massive, 450-author strong "Readers for Life" charity book signing. And let's not forget the 2007 RITA and Golden Heart Awards.

Although I am unable to make this year’s conference, I’ve attended many times in the past. Speaking from experience, it’s a fabulous way to learn more about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. It’s also an opportunity to make new friends and contacts and to reinforce existing relationships. That specific social-business aspect is called networking. There was a time when that word sent shivers down my spine. I equated it with aggressively pitching myself and my work to people who could, possibly, have a positive effect on my career.

#1) I can be terribly shy around people I don’t know.
#2) Tooting my own horn? That ain’t me.

I’ve been attending publishing related conference since 1994 and I for the longest time, I thought I stunk at networking. Then I happened across this book: “Power Networking – 55 Secrets for Personal & Professional Success”, by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas, and realized, I’m pretty darn good at networking.

This book targets cooperate professionals, but it very much applies to writers. It applies to anyone who’s trying move ahead in their career. Don’t have it? Buy it. It’s gold. Note: there's an updated version. 59 secrets.

As it happens, I could go on and on about networking, but I’ll hone it down with the RWA Conference in mind. Look for daily posts over the next few days. The dos and don’t’s of effective networking. Yes, there is a negative and positive approach.

For now, tell me… What does networking mean to you?

3 comments:

Roni said...

Networking (in both writing and real estate) means talking to people who share your interest/career/or with whom you may someday have a beneficial relationship; and who you may be able to help, or who may be able to help you in the future. Hmmm...that sounds convoluted, but I think it sums it up! I always try to be helpful to people because others have helped me on the way. It's July 4th btw and I took the day off, did no work, we had no family commitments, and I sat around and read!

Beth Ciotta said...

That wasn't convoluted Roni. That was dead on!

Glad you enjoyed the fourth. Sounds like the perfect day.

Melissa Lopez said...

Beth, this is a great workshop. Networking, (because of my visual challenge) is something I seriously fear. ~Mel

PS; Thank you for the congrats for Roberta!