Matilija Press
Book Titles

Published Article
by Patricia Fry

Network Your Way To Success

by Patricia L. Fry

(from SPAWNews, February 2001)

In writing, there is a time for solitude and there is a time for connecting with others. While you may prefer creating behind closed doors in order to be read, you need to draw attention to yourself and to your work. Become as successful as you dare. Take advantage of the networking opportunities available to you virtually everywhere—through SPAWN, other writing and publishing organizations, on the Internet and even in your daily life. Here are some tips for the networker:

  1. Gravitate toward those who have information you can use. Join organizations like SPAWN where you will meet others who are interested in publishing.
  2. Be aware of the opportunities around you. Listen to others and if you think they have information you can use, ask them about it. Most people are eager to help.
  3. Know what specific information or resources you want. Often people ask me, "How can I get my book or my article published?" There's no way to answer that question in five or ten minutes. Ask, instead, "Can you recommend a good book on self-publishing?" Or "Where can I find the most complete list of magazine editors?"
  4. Be considerate. Don't take up too much of anyone's time. If you need more information or resources than they can offer in just a few minutes, make an appointment for a paid consultation or at least take the person to lunch.
  5. Be gracious. Sometimes the advice or information you receive is something you have tried or that you feel uncomfortable with. Don't criticize his ideas. Courteously accept the offering and move on.
  6. Do your own research. Never ask the other person to make the contact for you or to do additional research, when it is something you can do yourself.
  7. Give thanks. People like to know they have been effective in their goal to help you. Time, thoughtfulness and energy have value. Honor the gift by telling the giver how his/her information helped you.

When you are the networkee:

  1. Give willingly to others when they ask for your help. Likewise, if you run across something that you think might be of interest to a colleague, pass it along.
  2. Know when to say "no." Sometimes people are so excited about the information and resources you're sharing that they can't stop asking for more. If you feel tapped out, politely offer the other person your card. Suggest that they make an appointment for a paid consultation or recommend a good book they can read or Web site they can visit on the subject.
  3. Help people to help themselves. Merely show them the way, don't do the work for them.
  4. Give graciously. In other words, don't be attached to how the other person uses the information you give them. Everyone has a different level of motivation and self-discipline. Expecting someone who is not a self-starter to start a publishing business overnight is not a reasonable expectation.
  5. Follow-up. If you think of something more you could give to the networker, contact him with the additional information. Likewise, call or email him within a couple of weeks to see how he is progressing with his project. Remember that successful networking is a give and take proposition.

Patricia Fry is the author of A Writer’s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit (Matilija Press, 2000).

Matilija Press Home | About Matilija Press | Recent Articles | Media Coverage
How to Order Books | Our Guarantee | Consulting Services for Publishers & Authors