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Gas–$3, Book–$12, Networking–Priceless

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Over the past year or so, I have become a huge proponent of networking, especially after my experience last year with being in charge of overseeing the ACFW contests for unpublished and published authors and getting to know several key editors and agents in the CBA marketplace, several of whom told me to go ahead and submit my work to them whenever I was ready without even knowing what it was, just because we had worked together on the contests. (Have I done this yet? No, but that’s a different post!)

I’ve written on this blog before about the opportunity I took of networking with editors from Salem Publishing that led to my current freelance work. Because I was anxious to find a new job, I’d sent out by mail and e-mail resumes to all of the different publishing companies in town. The editor from Salem contacted me within an hour of receiving my e-mail and asked me to come in to talk to him even though he didn’t have any open positions at the time. I could have said no, I was only interested in full-time employment, but I saw it as a networking opportunity. Most publications are constantly on the lookout for people to do freelance work, whether writing or editing, so I knew I couldn’t pass it up. One thing led to another in that conversation, including my mentioning that I loved to listen to Southern Gospel music, which led to my very first publication in June (two CD reviews) and followed up with a cover story article in the August 2006 edition of Singing News magazine.

When perusing the information on the Alumni retreat that was going on the weekend that I graduated from Seton Hill, I recognized the name of a CBA agent who was going to be speaking to the alumni, Joyce Hart of the Hartline Agency. One day at lunch, when I happened to see her sitting alone at a table in the cafeteria, I took the chance of stopping to speak to her. She recognized me and asked me about what I was working on, and we had a pleasant chat for about two or three minutes. She didn’t ask me to submit and I didn’t “pitch” to her, but it was a chance to get my name/face in front of her once again (especially important since I’m only going to the book signing and awards banquet at this year’s ACFW National Conference, so won’t really get a chance to see too many editors/agents to network with).

Today, I had another opportunity for networking thrown my way. I went down to Barnes & Noble to see if they had any copies of the magazine that I could pick up and there, just inside the front door, was a former coworker, Pat Embry, signing his new book Where The Locals Eat: Nashville. Although our conversation centered around what we’d each been doing since leaving The Tennessean, it was also a great connection for me with someone else in the publishing industry. The only bad part of it is that I had no business cards with me! (I’ve got to get a little card carrier and start taking those with me everywhere.)

How do you network? How do you find/take advantage of those opportunities? What’s your best or—gasp!—worst networking experience?

  1. CHickey permalink
    Saturday, July 29, 2006 7:18 pm

    I’m just learning how to network. I’ve got to get more comfortable talking about myself


  2. Kathy Harris permalink
    Saturday, July 29, 2006 9:09 pm

    Kaye, I agree. Networking is invaluable in every business. Ideally, it’s just another term for “friends!”


  3. Carol Collett permalink
    Sunday, July 30, 2006 6:31 pm

    I’m so unsure of myself it makes networking very challenging. I’m trying to learn ways to come out of my shell a little.



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