Just Five Things: How to network with publishing professionals

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5Just Five Things, a list of simple actions that can enhance your publishing career. One tip for each day of the week related to every aspect of publishing from time management to marketing to writing.

1.  Networking is about building authentic professional relationships so be prepared to offer solutions and benefits to others. “True networking occurs when there’s an understanding that everyone in the room has equal value. In its purest form, it’s about people enjoying other people, communicating passions and connecting with others who share those passions.” — Andrew Vest, How to Network the Right Way: Eight Tips

2.  Practice your networking skills prior to formal events. Read How to Network: 12 Tips for Shy People by Meridith Levinson, who offers these practical suggestions: Smile. Ask a question. Listen.

Bonus tip: Memorize 3-5 icebreakers to start conversations with strangers. Here are a few suggestions.

Hi, my name is ____.
What’s been your favorite workshop so far?
Tell me about yourself.
What do you write?
What are you currently working on?
What are you most looking forward to during this event?
Do you have any tips or suggestions for a first timer?
How did you get started in publishing?
I’m a fan of your books/company/work.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in publishing?
Who are you here to meet?
Who do you know here?

3.  Be prepared to share information. Have business cards and/or bookmarks/postcards. Refine your “elevator pitch” about your book(s) and about your author brand/career.

4.  Many networking events include social activities, but remember these are professional settings. Do not reveal inappropriate personal information, do not drink to excess, do not overstep personal boundaries.

5.  Sometimes interacting with “important people” is intimidating, but don’t let this cause you to miss valuable opportunities to connect. In 3 Tips for Making Conversation with Really, Really Important People, Lily Herman suggests treating them like real people, finding personal connections to springboard conversation (“I see you like cats. I have a Siamese named Oscar.”), and making sure to follow up.

See you next week for another list of Just Five Things.

If you have a tip to share or need help with a challenge, email me at myauthorconcierge@gmail.com.

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