Guest post by Angie Bailey
Last month I opened the four-part series on taking your blog to a book with a post about platform building. Once you’ve identified your audience and grown a presence, it’s time to take the next step by making contacts through networking. Networking broadens your presence and can be a powerful way to move toward getting your book published. Plus, it’s fun to meet new people, right? Right! As I mentioned, my focus in this series is traditional publishing because that’s where my experience lies; however, networking is also key for those who take the self-publishing route.
When making contacts, it’s important to keep an open mind. You never know if you’ll connect with someone who knows someone who knows someone. I believe any connection is a good one. You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!
When I was working on the Texts from Mittens book, I found platform building and networking were invaluable benefits. Mittens the cat, however, thinks he’s the one I should be thanking. As a gesture, I promised he could offer his tips in this post.
Here are five ways networking can help get your blog on the fast track to publication as a book, with bonus advice from Mittens; however, I’m not so sure Mittens’ advice has anything to do with book publication. Still, I promised.
My tip: Writing and blogging conferences are excellent places to not only learn and make friends with those of like mind, but also to open up opportunities to network with industry experts and influential professionals. I met up with several authors at a BlogPaws conference in 2011. They recommended I attend a Cat Writers’ Conference. I did, and that’s where I met my literary agent, who went on to help me land book deals for both Whiskerslist: The Kitty Classifieds and Texts from Mittens. You see, the bonus part of some writing conferences is the chance to schedule short meetings with editors and agents. It can normally be challenging to get your work in front of these people, but mini meetings at conferences put you and your work front and center.
Mittens’ tip: When you go to any kind of pet-related conference, make sure and network with professionals who can provide you with lots of pet-related swag to bring home. Toys and treats put you on the fast track to a friendly homecoming.
My tip: Follow industry professionals on social media outlets, and regularly interact with them. Leave thoughtful comments on their blogs and retweet/share their posts. Building an online rapport could lead to a friendlier reception to your queries and proposals.
Mittens’ tip: Follow industry professionals who have connections to free food samples. Also, stop posting embarrassing photos of your pets online. No sailor hats, reindeer antlers, and hot dog costumes. Just no.
Join writing groups
My tip: Not only are these groups an excellent way to regularly give and collect feedback on writing, they’re great spots to unite with others on the same path. Plus you can benefit from the contacts, experiences, and advice of the other members. If you aren’t aware of writing groups in your area, explore Meetup.com.
Mittens’ tip: Do not attend writing groups that conflict with your pets’ meal times. That is all.
Carry business cards and be prepared
My tip: You never know when you’ll run into a valuable contact, so keep a supply of current business cards with you at all times. In addition to the business cards, have your elevator speech (a short summary designed to spark interest) ready so you can quickly give the person a concise description of you and your work.
Mittens’ tip: Stop making speeches in elevators and give your pets extra treats instead. That’s pretty concise, don’t you think?
That’s all for this segment in the Blog to Book series. Join us next month for another set of tips! Mittens says he appreciates your time and looks forward to all food-related results.
Angie Bailey is an award-winning author, blogger and humorist. She wrote Texts from Mittens and Whiskerslist: The Kitty Classifieds, and created the Catladyland and Texts from Mittens blogs.