Eating the Elephant: It Was the Friends We Made

Networking. People. Relationships.

Is there anything more anti-author? We’re known for solitary journeys. Author, pen, paper, story. We haunt cafes and libraries. We have private studies, spaces dedicated to our craft.

We don’t…network.

But should we?

Yes. Yes, we should. Networking, connecting with people in your industry, is an invaluable tool for us. Through others, we can:

      • Learn about calls for short/flash submissions
      • Find agents and publishers for longer works
      • Discover beta/critique groups
      • Make friends
      • Explore opportunities in your genre
      • Join professional organizations
      • Get support and advice
      • Market yourself (brand building)
      • Gain new perspectives
      • Build confidence

Let’s dig deeper, shall we?

Submissions are our bread and butter, yes? They keep us sharp, keep us writing, and if we’re lucky, keep us in caffeine-money. Acceptances boost our motivation, rejections teach us. Subs help us stay on deadlines, which contributes to forming solid habits.

Working on a novel or a collection of your work? Have a manuscript completed and ready for the next steps? Networking can help you find an agent or a publisher. Even if you’re not quite there yet, you can gather information, see who would be a good fit, make connections for the future.

If you’re shy, Facebook groups are a wonderful place to start. You can watch and lurk for a bit, then dip your toes in the water. Reading groups, critique groups, beta groups, prompt groups, genre-specific groups—the possibilities are nearly endless. Once you join a couple, you’ll find like-minded people to connect with.

Professional organizations sound intimidating, don’t they? All those requirements and people with long lists of accomplishments. It was a long time before I felt worthy of joining one. But here’s the thing…they’re not so scary and they offer a boatload (an entire boat!) of benefits. The Horror Writer’s Association, the Romance Writers of America, the Author’s Guild, and oh so many more—they offer legal advice, paths to earning awards, opportunities for interviews. You may even find a mentor! The list goes on and on. Most have entry level memberships that are either free or have reduced fees. You can upgrade later as you are able.

We’ve talked before about creating and building your brand. Networking introduces all that work to others. It gets your brand in front of eyes. Most of what we do is online, so your avatar/icon is front and center. If you’re attending an event, your business card (physical or digital) will have your logo. Every way you interact with people is an opportunity to share your brand and etch yourself in their memory.

Chatting with other authors, with agents and editors, with publishers, opens your world in ways you may not realize. You’ll get a peek into genres you don’t (maybe yet) write in. You’ll learn how parts of the industry work, for good and sometimes not so good—but you need to know anyway. You may change the way you view certain aspects. And as your exposure, knowledge, and experience build, so will your confidence.

Go forth, Author! Make some friends!

Picture of Kimberly Rei

Kimberly Rei

Kimberly Rei, in addition to writing creepy tales, is an editor with Black Hare Press and takes joy in offering the wobbly wisdom of her experience. She does her best work in the places that can't exist...the in-between places where imagination defies reality. With a penchant for dark corners and hooks that leave readers looking over their shoulder, she is always on the lookout for new ideas, new projects, and new ways to make words dance. Her debut novelette, Chrysalis, is available on Amazon. Kimberly lives in gorgeous Florida where the Gulf hides monsters and the sun is a special kind of horror.
Picture of Dean Shawker

Dean Shawker

Dean Shawker hails from Bracknell, UK, and now lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Dean is co-founder and editor of Black Hare Press.

Having found that his BSc in Bioengineering and BA in Digital Media were as useful in real life as calculus and geometric proofs, Dean now works in commercial non-fiction during the day and moonlights as a minion of the hell hare, Captain Woundwort, in the dark hours.

He writes speculative fiction and dark poetry under the pseudonym Avery Hunter, and edits under the name D. Kershaw.

You’ll usually find him hanging out with the rest of the BHP family in the BHP Facebook group, or here as a servant to the Stygian Lepus.

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