Networking for a faster sale

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 8:04 AM | 22 comments »

Good morning,
Everyone knows the importance of networking, and that's why we join local chapters, go to meetings, conferences, and make ourselves visible. If not, we'd probably hole up in our little cave and write all day.
I must admit that is my main reason for going to a conference. Conference's are expensive, and when I was a newbie I would go to all the workshops and take copious notes in the hope of learning the craft, and rubbing shoulders with more talented writers than me. Now, I have an ulterior motive for going. I want to have a personal relationship with the editors, at least have them know who I am, what I look like, remember meeting, etc.
One of our very special ladies from FRW has a wonderful story to tell. She has done all the right things, worked as President for our local chapter, gone to all the conferences, including the National and RT, and she is a delightful, outgoing person. She made a personal connection with a Harlequin editor on the FRW cruise last year which has resulted in a sale for Super Romance.
She believes it would never have happened without networking and establishing a connection with the editor. It included drinks in Mexico and balloon hats, so I've been told!
A NY editor told us once that editors look for a chance to say no. My goal, which should be yours, is to give an editor a reason to say yes. Make then want to sign you on. Give them a person to cheer for, to care for, to make it a personal experience when they first open your book. They only read the first two or three pages and make a decision based on that. Not only do those pages have to grab them, and entice them to read further, but if they are already rooting for you, it might be the difference between "I love your voice, your characters, your story, but ... blah, blah, blah."
We need to make them care. Balloon hats, anyone?

22 comments

  1. Tamara LeBlanc // May 18, 2011 at 8:47 AM  

    I agree. Networking is very important. Conferences, monthly meetings, Twitter, FB, blogging. They all have a place in an author's arsenal (don't know if I spelled that right:)
    Thanks for the post!
    Have a great day,
    Tamara

  2. Kathy Otten // May 18, 2011 at 10:45 AM  

    I just came back from the Pennwriters conference in Pittsburg. It is cool to talk to editors and agents, albeit breifly at lunch or in the hallway outside a workshop. Sometimes I didn't even know who I was talking to until later. But it goes to show that you never know where it will take you.

  3. heather graham // May 18, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

    The amazing thing about networking is that it can help you be at the right place at the right time. You have to have the work, of course, but when you've met someone, and it's an iffy situation, as in, this needs work for my line, an editor is willing to do the work because they know that you're a viable author to nurture into the future. There's strength in being together; we celebrate together and commiserate together--and we bring info to the table that can really help someone else. Lovely blog, Patrice!

  4. Lynne Marshall // May 18, 2011 at 11:09 AM  

    Great story. I know I sold my first book after connecting with a Mills & Boon editor at an RWA conference. She didn't buy my first offering, but met with me at the next RWA conference and bought the second one!

    Smiling and being friendly never hurts, you know?

  5. Mary Ricksen // May 18, 2011 at 11:45 AM  

    You are so right Patrice!!! That's how I got published too!

  6. Kristin Wallace // May 18, 2011 at 12:23 PM  

    I haven't sold yet, but the connections made thru chapters, conferences & workshops (even online ones) are the key the success. I once pitched an agent during the literacy signing @ RWA. Yes, the one/w 15 million people milling around. I had approached an author I'd met at our FRW conference. I mentioned that I was looking for an agent & she said, "Well, why don't you speak to mine? She's right behind you." She didn't sign me, but it only happened because I knew that author. The agent I did eventually get I found while planning another FRW conference.

  7. Mary Marvella // May 18, 2011 at 12:30 PM  

    I hope you are right, Patrice, because I know a lot of editors and agents who ask me about what I'm writing every year. They know me. I have a ton of rejections and almost as many editors and agents who seem to like me.

    The people I meet might just become my readers, just as I will become theirs. I love meeting the writers whose books I have been reading. AWESOME!

  8. Mona Risk // May 18, 2011 at 1:32 PM  

    Nice blog Patrice. We are lucky to be networking with successful authors at FRW. Editors and agents remember the writers they talk to and befriend, but I am sure the sale comes only with the right manuscript. As Heather said, you have to have the work.

  9. Kathleen Pickering // May 18, 2011 at 1:44 PM  

    Hey, Patrice! I'm so happy you shared my story. I agree with you 100%! When you don't have a book published to sell, the only other item to sell, is yourself. (Manuscript in hand, figuratively, but your shining personality, literally!)

    While your work won't sell if it's poorly done, if an editor likes you, he/she may give your work a second look when it otherwise may have gotten the "no thank you." I say, NETWORK, children, and always be yourself. Even if it takes balloon hats!
    xox, Piks

  10. Allison Chase // May 18, 2011 at 2:05 PM  

    When you think about it, books sell when the characters are so wonderful, readers care about them. So we have to think of ourselves like our characters and make those same kinds of connections. Great post, Patrice, and congratuations to Kathleen Pickering on her sale to Harlequin!

  11. Chris // May 18, 2011 at 2:12 PM  

    Excellent blog, Patrice!

  12. Pamela Varnado // May 18, 2011 at 2:45 PM  

    Making that connection with the editor is key. You know when it has happened. You give a pitch and leave the table feeling like the editor really wants you to succeed. I once pitched to an agent and through she didn't take me on, she did line edit my proposal and request I send her another story.

  13. Patrice // May 18, 2011 at 4:37 PM  

    Wow -I've been out all day--at my critique group and came home to all these lovely messages.
    Thank you Tamara, Kathy, Heather, Lynn, Mary "R and Mary M, Kristin, Mona, Piks herself, Allison, Chris and Pamela for responding.
    Talent and dedication are one thing, but it takes more today to be successful. It requires luck, perserverance, networking, and being in the right place at the right time. Which is making our own luck. And a great book. And hey, I don't know what it takes. I'm still looking for that Big One.

  14. Autumn Jordon // May 18, 2011 at 5:30 PM  

    Great post, Patrice. Some say I'm a social butterfly, but I'm really shy. Really. I love to get to know people, but when it comes to editors and agents face to face, I get tongue tied. I know. I need to think of them as people. I'll add this to my list of things to prepare for nationals.

  15. Autumn Jordon // May 18, 2011 at 5:33 PM  

    Congrats, Kathleen!

  16. J.L. Murphey // May 18, 2011 at 11:29 PM  

    Yes, BUT while networking is important...nothing beats writing an outstanding novel.

    Making contacts is important in any business. It helps put a face to the name. For an instant imagine how many faces an agent or editor sees at a conference or convention...how many would you recognize later?

    It also gets us out of our caves.

  17. Patrice // May 19, 2011 at 7:52 AM  

    J.L. - Yes, an outstanding novel always works best-LOL-but if your book is a great story and perhaps needs a little work, the personal contact may come in handy. I'm not saying it will turn a no into a yes, but it might be looked at a little more favorably. I think you need to meet an editor around 3 times at different conferences, etc. before they will remember you, and the smaller conferences with more personal contact, the better. Thanks for commenting.

  18. Nightingale // May 19, 2011 at 1:51 PM  

    The success story is very heartening! I'm going to NOLA and fully intent to network. You're right conferences are expensive, and my reason for going is networking.

  19. plumbing // May 20, 2011 at 9:23 PM  

    I actually heard a lot about this networking stuffs. However, I am still not convinced to try out on this.

  20. Josie // May 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM  

    Patrice,
    Truer words have never been spoken. Unfortunately for us introvert writers, networking has to be the name of the game.

  21. party bags // May 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM  

    Many says that networking is one of the easiest and fastest way to earn. Yet, I'am still not convinced by it.

  22. Double Glazing // June 7, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

    Networking as in like communicating to other people is a good way to increase sales. With this, there are plenty of people you will meet and talk to, thus there will be greater chance of increasing sales.