by Brenda Carre
It's hard to follow two posts on getting naked, but here goes.
Have you any lesser-known ways of your own to network and make valuable contacts in the writing industry? If so I would love to hear them. In this post I hope to lay bare four tried-and-true ways of my own.
1. Join organizations of like-minded writers. Be prepared to learn. I have the pleasure today to travel south to Seattle, Washington and Norwescon. While there, I will be giving a four-minute reading called a Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading. An RFR is networking and fun all rolled into a one-hour session where ten authors read excerpts of their work. Readings are usually given to a full room of listeners. Other members of this organization have taught me the art of picking and reading short passages. Listening to the amazing work delivered by the other ‘Broads’ is both engaging and revelatory.
Broad Universe is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres.
Romance Writers of America is another amazing source of writerly goodness. There is likely a local chapter of the RWA near you. Many host writing contests and talks by fantastic speakers. There are writer organizations for pretty much every genre out there. Take the plunge. Clothed, or not. You will not be disappointed.
2. Attend local writers’ conferences and conventions and become a volunteer. This not only saves you money but it gives you the opportunity to connect with writers ‘behind the scenes’ as well as giving you the opportunity to connect with other writer-volunteers. One of my local favorites is Surrey International Writers Conference. This is a fabulous big conference hosting authors, agents and editors from all over North America and abroad. If you live near a large city, the odds are there will be a significant writers' conference within driving distance. If you don’t, consider putting one together in your area. An author friend of mine helps put together a great small conference in the Yukon that attracts many industry pros each year.
3. Visit and patronize your local indie bookstore and your branch library. Don’t be afraid to go and talk to the school librarian either, especially if you write YA. (My wonderful colleague on this blog Mindy McGinnis is a youth librarian and an amazing resource) In my city there are still several ‘destination’ bookstores that host readings and make a genuine effort to order in hard-to-find books. These amazing readers and resource folks keep me informed of who is coming to do readings and they have even done cold reads for me and given me valuable critique on ‘plot holes’ in my manuscripts. Nobody knows marketing and what is on demand by readers like booksellers, and librarians
4. Connect with authors by attending readings, by commenting on their blogs or by following them on Twitter. There are many amazing authors out there that are happy to respond to comments. One of the most helpful I have found is the wonderful fantasy author Carol Berg. Her informative blog, Text Crumbs, is a treasure of craft-related information that takes you all the way from plotting to production. Other blogs I have found to provide some naked honesty from the pros are: Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, and Kevin J Anderson.
Go have fun.