Networking and the Value of Writing Friends

May 25 2012, 4:06 pm in , , , , ,

Forest fire season is starting here and the skies are filled with smoke this morning. The flip side to this is that the sunsets should get pretty spectacular.

We’re also hitting summer conference season. I have RomCon in June and RWA National in July. I was considering DragonCon in August, but decided against it and am waffling on World Fantasy Con in November. For me, it’s mainly a question of time commitment, though going to conventions can be pricey. A lot of writers (or their spouses!) try to parse out the return on investment (ROI) for going to conventions. They try to calculate if book sales increase in proportion to the expense of going.

This kind of math is impossible to do.

A number pre-pub writers have told me they’re not going to a convention until they have a book to sell. I usually nod understandingly, but I usually want to take them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them.

Because you don’t go to conventions to sell books.

You go to make friends.

And, not to sound like a famous advertising meme, these kind of connections are beyond price.

That’s what networking is all about. It sounds like this very dry thing, which I suppose it can be. But in truth, networking is about forming friendships, finding your tribe, developing that extended family of choice. In reality, it’s the least dry effort there is. Those friendships become your greatest support. These will be the only people in your life whose eyes don’t glaze over when you weep over your 49th rejection and who rejoice right with you when that 50th query strikes gold. They will pet you when those edits seem too difficult to contemplate and understand why it’s just SO VERY WRONG that your heroine on the cover is holding a knife. They are also your first and best cheerleaders.

Today, there’s an article in USA Today on the Happy Ever After Blog with a list of recommendations from authors for books like Fifty Shades of Grey. Two of my friends recommended my books – one said Petals and Thorns and the other cited Sapphire. I owe them big time for this and will find ways to pay it back. But I also know I don’t have to, because they’re my friends.

Beyond price, I tell you.

Comments

8 Responses to “Networking and the Value of Writing Friends”

  1. There is nothing like a friend who understands that rejection means you’ll need a chocolate bar or pint of ice cream before you can continue on, that you’re not going to quit but you need a moment to grieve. You’re not going to meet those people sitting by yourself in the house.

  2. Linda G. says:

    You’re right about the support of fellow writers–nothing beats having friends who understand the ups and downs of the publication process. :)

  3. Carien says:

    At times like these I wished I lived in the US (or that I could teleport if I’m wishing anyway ;-)

  4. Congratulations on the mentions. I hope it nets you some extra sales. =o)

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