It Sounds Simple
One of the email groups where I participate has been discussing the value of networking. I’ve taken some of the information I sent in a post and reworked it. I hope it will help some others in this area. When I consider the topic of networking, one key is to treat everyone with respect and professionalism. You never know where a contact will be important to you.
Years ago at one of the Christian Booksellers Convention, I recall explaining to a young publicist about how I couldn't get on their publisher review list--despite regularly writing reviews for different high-profile publications. She gently listened to my story, took my business card and promised to do something about it. I was added to their review list. About a year later, the publicity department at this publisher totally changed and this same publicist became a Vice-President of Publicity.
Or consider a more recent change--and this time I'll add the names. Many years ago, Gary Terashita was on the sales staff at Cook Communications, then he moved to the sales staff at Lifeway in Nashville, TN. Then he became an acquisitions editor at Broadman & Holman (the trade division of Lifeway). In the last month, Gary moved to Warner Faith as a Senior Editor. If you had met him years ago when he was in sales at Cook, could you have imagined these changes? It's a basic principle of good business to be professional and treat everyone with kindness.
You would be amazed at the rude reactions I receive as an editor from writers. Remember them? You bet. If you want a sample, check out this blog entry from a few days ago. Or here's another one about snappy comebacks--please don't use them. Whether in person, on email, or through the mail, you are making an impression as you interact. Never forget it.
Craft is critical as we write. Your writing has to shine to the editor. But never forget the importance of the interpersonal relationship. Last week I was talking with another editor. He told about acquiring a book and getting it to the contract stage (i.e. the project had been approved by the publication board of the company and they were ready to issue the writer a contract). If you don't know publishing, this action of getting an approved contract is huge. Apparently when the editor called the author, this writer was so arrogant and demanding--as an unpublished author--it made this editor wonder what the author would be like after the book was contracted. He made a decision to protect his company and never issued the contract. The loser from the arrogant behavior? The author--and likely he never knew the reasons. The deal suddenly fell apart.
It sounds pretty simple but treat the editors and professional writers and new writers and anyone else who crosses your path with the love and kindness of Jesus. It will make a big difference to your networking possibilities.