Whether here or on the podcast, I’m sure you’re constantly heard one word in relation to publishing: networking.
And networking, much like marketing, is something that can make a lot of authors shiver. It sounds schmoozy. It sounds showy. It sounds… social. It can be all those things, but it’s in the way you approach it, and how you choose to do it.
Honestly, the better way of putting it is just making connections. And if we’re going to be even more hand-holdy about it, it’s called making friends. I know, that’s totally scary, too.
This past week is a great example of how networking has helped my career, and shaped me into the person - and writer - that I am today.
Let’s start with Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta. These are two authors I met through the Class of 2k13 - a group of children’s authors who debuted in 2013, and banded together for support. Kate and Demitria and I have gone on to work on multiple projects together - including the anthology Among the Shadows, and the upcoming Betty Bites Back: Stories to Scare the Patriarchy.
With Betty Bites Back nearing publication, we’ve been in contact every day, 24/7 - and I do mean that. Whether it’s Slack, emails, or text, there is a constant line of communication open between the three of us. Without the connections - networking - I made by joining the Classof2k13, these two anthologies wouldn’t exist. And neither would quite a few road trips, panels, workshops sessions, and some stories about Mindy when she’s had too much to drink.
What else? I’ve got an on-going text conversation with my friend and fellow Ohio author Kurt Dinan. We text, and often call each other to air ideas, try out a new plot, or just honestly, bitch a lot.
The same is true of Kamerhe Lane, who has a short in Betty Bites Back. She is my PitchWars mentee and we share an agent. Just last week she ran two pitches past me, and can I just say - she is one hell of a talented author.
Just scrolling through my texts I see a conversation I had with David Arnold, who reached out to ask me about some specifics of bodily harm for his newest novel. I get those questions a lot. Sometimes I know the answer, and sometimes I don’t. When the latter happens, I rely (heavily) on Lydia Kang - a practicing doctor and novelist who I also met through Class of 2k13.
Madeleine Roux was in my neck of the woods recently and we took advantage of a long ride to the airport (okay, okay so I got turned around while we talking, alright?) to talk about publishing - and how to survive it. Writers need these conversations to keep ourselves sane.
I see texts in my recent conversations from Brittany Cavallaro and Kendare Blake - we’re all going to be at the same event coming up (soon-ish) and I reached out to see if we can not-so-accidentally cross paths there. I’ve toured with both of them, and I know good people when I meet them!
There’s Natalie D. Richards in my emails - another Ohio author. We’re trying to put together an event soon, since we don’t get to see each other enough.
I’ve got a note here to myself to text Jeff Zentner and SL Duncan about some questions I have about the manuscript I’m working on. They’re both lawyers, and I need their lawyer brains.
That’s just this past week. That’s how much I rely on other authors, and how much I’m relied upon. When we talk about a writing community, this is what we mean. We’re supportive, helpful, and kind. If only the same were true of all workplaces!