Do writers need to network? Do crackers need cheese?

Gone are the days when a writer could sit up in a proverbial garret and stare out across the rooftops, alone and isolated, glumly waiting for the muse to visit. Not that the garret situation was ever the case for most writers – but you get my drift.

It is necessary to network if you want to get your writerly presence out there in the marketplace. In the area of Children’s and Young Adult writing, support organisations that promote books, like the Children’s Book Council of Australia and Book Links are well worth joining. Join writing organisations like the Australian Society of Authors who run workshops in different capital cities and have a newsletter.

Join SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) if you write for children and Young Adults. Go to their conferences. Not only do you meet up with writing friends from all over Australia, you rub shoulders with the country’s best children’s books’ editors, publishers, authors and agents. And if you are lucky, you could be chosen to give a short 3-minute pitch of your latest manuscript.

As long as you don’t mind speaking in front of a roomful of attendees and are prepared for very honest, no holds barred opinions from the publishers !

Be an active member of your State’s writing centres. Here in my home state, the Queensland Writers Centre has many social occasions where you can meet publishers, agents and other writers. NOTE: Don’t dare lug along your 80,000-word manuscript. But, if the occasion arises and your instincts say it’s the right time to do it, and the publisher/agent sounds interested in what you do, have your 1-sentence pitch ready. Then if questions come, be able to answer them succinctly. But know when to stop.

Attend book launches in your city – support your fellow writers and they will do the same for you when it is your turn. It’s also a great way to meet up with other writer friends.

An on-line presence is essential these days, especially if you are a regional or outback writer. Here, in Australia that could mean you live thousands of kilometres from the coastal cities.

Blogs and Twitter are fun and useful. Not that I do too much twittering – it’s addictive and not that useful just on a computer. Besides, I have to leave time to do some real writing done.

I use WORDPRESS.COM as my blog provider. I love it! It’s user-friendly and full of excellent features. You can also use it in place of a website if you want. WordPress.org is a site you pay for but it gives you a lot more features.

Facebook is a wonderful way to meet other writers in Australia – in my case, its authors who write children’s and YA books. I think we must be one of the most closely-knit (in terms of Facebook) community of writers in the world with so many of us Facebook befriending and meeting at writing conferences across the continent.

This is all part of your PLATFORM – yeah, more new jargon. But it’s all to do with helping you and your work to stand out amongst the many thousands of writers in this country and across the globe. I won’t dishearten you by including the numbers of hopeful writers just in Australia alone.

Do you blog regularly? Is it an attractive site? Do you support other writers’ blogs and leave comments? Do you have an appealing website; one that is easy to navigate?

I love blogging – usually about writing, but also about the things that I feel strongly about and/or topics that might interest others.

There are many links to other writers’ blogs on my site. They have linked my site to theirs too. I have chosen many because they offer good writing, helpful advice and entertaining insights into their lives as writers. Here’s the link to what fellow children’s and YA author, Dee White says about NETWORKING.

A future blog will check out some of my writerly friends and give you a little peek into their worlds.

PS How do you network in the world of writing? Any more suggestions?

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13 thoughts on “Do writers need to network? Do crackers need cheese?

  1. Hi Lexie, there are a few things that can be done re the school libraries – join the Friends of The Hub organisation (they’re at the front of the fight), start writing protest letters to politicians, and talk to spread the word around your circles. The info on The Hub is in the previous post about school libraries.

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  2. Hello Sheryl,
    Thank you for this latest post. I’m always interested to hear what you have to say and what you are doing, and your very useful and timely advice. I really admire your your energy.
    I don’t do twitter. As much as I’m beginning to enjoy facebook, and realise its worth among writers, it’s enough for me to keep up with at the moment.
    Is there anything we can do about the schools getting rid of their libraries and teacher/librarians? I have fond memories of going to workshps a few years ago, a lone, non teaching new writer and being gathered into the fold for the day by the lovely, friendly and enthusiatic teacher librarians.

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  3. Great post, Sheryl,

    I totally agree with you, Sheryl. Gone are the days when writers can hide away in their ‘attics’.

    But the advantage of this big new world of ours is that a lot of the communications can be done from your laptop…and it’s so much easier to ‘cut and paste’ and your ‘quill’ doesn’t run out of ink.

    Dee:-)

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  4. Katrina, you are so right about needing contact with other authors for stimulation, support and friendship. I love FB for that, and also a couple of online children’s author groups I’m in. If any of us are travelling interstate we always plan a get-together with the rest of our online group – love it!

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  5. I love to tweet! But you’re right, it can be an unhelpful distraction sometimes as well. Writers need writers for stimulation, support and friendship. It’s more fun when you join in.

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  6. Great post, Sheryl. I use WordPress to blog and as my website. I’m a novice, still working on the first draft of my debut Romance novel. I’ve learned so much about writing and networking in the past few months. I don’t Twitter and I try to just glance at Facebook, so I don’t waste too much precious time, when I know I should be writing. I guess it’s all about balance, time management etc 🙂

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  7. Thanks, Sheryl. I have not succumbed to twitter as yet. Like you I need to get some writing done and there is so much networking to do as well! This is such a useful post I will be linking it in emails.

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