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Networking Refresher–Building Name Recognition

Thursday, September 6, 2007

See also Networking = Name Recognition = Marketing, Networking: Addendum to Building Name Recognition

Yesterday, I gave some suggestions of how you can start networking when you don’t have the means to go to conferences or spend face-to-face time with other writers.

Aside from building contacts and learning more about the industry, the other important thing you’re doing is building name recognition.

Most of us know other unpublished authors. But think of the ones you know that it surprised you when you found out they’re actually unpublished because they seem so actively involved in the writing community, so knowledgable about the publishing industry, so connected to other published authors.

There is a negative side to building your network/creating name recognition—and that is when it comes to issues that are controversial. I wrote in the original series that I’ve chosen not to blog about hot-button topics such as politics, the war, etc., because I know that not everyone who might read my blog would agree with what I think/believe. Even though there are some blogs/online magazines I enjoy reading that write about these kinds of topics, I do not leave comments on them—most comments are now searchable! (I did this ONCE five or six years ago and it still comes up pretty high in the results when I Google my name!) I don’t want to do anything that might antagonize potential readers, or anything that will taint my image as a professional writer.

This doesn’t just happen with blogs. This is also true with the e-mails we send to groups we’re members of. You don’t want to be so concerned about your image that you don’t express any beliefs or stick to your guns when you’re called on the carpet about something. It just means that you’ve carefully considered everything you’ve written, that you’re not just shooting from the hip, giving in to your knee-jerk reaction. Be thoughtful and considerate when expressing your opinion on topics that might get heated. And if you disagree with another member of the group—whatever you do, don’t make the disagreement public by posting your argument on the main loop! Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt.

When we first start trying to break into the publishing world, our name is our brand. What do you want potential readers, editors, and agents to think of when they hear or see your name? Oh, that’s that person who’s quick to start a fight on the e-mail loop? Or—hey, that’s that guy with the great blog about men who love to cook.

So how are you building name recognition? What image are you developing? And what do you want your “brand” to be—what do you want people to think of when they see your name?

Update 10:11 AM
Amy Jane asked me a few questions about the importance of organization memberships for networking, which I answered in the comments on yesterday’s post. But then the question came up about memberships vs. blogging for networking. Here’s part of my answer to her:

About nine months ago, I decided I wanted to try to increase the number of visits to my blog. So I switched from Blogger to WordPress, where I could make my page my own with a domain and more customizable look. I then went to the blogs of a couple of people I know through ACFW who have forty or fifty links to other writers’ blogs listed on theirs. I copied all of them into a word document, consolidated them, and once a week I would take an hour to an hour and a half and go through the list and read at least the most recent post on all of them. When I ran across those who didn’t update their blogs very often (or ever), I eliminated them from the list. I didn’t comment on every blog every week. Out of about fifty sites, I may have left comments on five or six each week–and most of those are now in my Bloglinks list on my site. Sure it was time consuming, but aside from increasing the readership of my blog from 20-30 hits per day to an average of 90-100 per day (at least half of which come from keyword searches and don’t become regular readers), it’s how I met my critique partners. We were frequenting the same blogs and starting up conversations in our comments on other people’s and our own blogs.

My blog reading is now down to the list that’s on my site. Each morning, in about fifteen or twenty minutes, I visit each of them and leave comments when moved to.

Granted, I have the added networking advantage of being a member of ACFW and active on the forums where I have a link to the blog in my signature line–as well as the opportunity to post announcements there of the series I do. I had considered letting my membership lapse this past spring, as I don’t read the thirty, forty, fifty or more e-mails that go through the main loop every day (same topics tend to repeat every three or four months as the organization grows), but then I started getting more active on the forums and realized I didn’t want to give up that outlet. But I am deriving benefit from that membership fee, so it’s worth it.

You don’t HAVE to network to get published. All you have to do is write good stories and submit, submit, submit. There are plenty of published authors who aren’t members of writing organizations. It’s an advantage to be able to say in your bio that you’re a member of this organization or that which gives you an outlet for word-of-mouth marketing if you are published, but I don’t know that a publishing house has ever turned down a great author simply because he or she didn’t have the right club memberships.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Friday, September 7, 2007 8:57 am

    I guess I hadn’t really thought of my “name” as my brand. But you make an important point here, and it’s important to think before posting anywhere. Now I’m tempted to Google your name 🙂

    PS. Happy Friday 🙂

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. Conference Prep–Neworking on the Fly « KayeDacus.com
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