Who You Know Can Make a Difference
We in the publishing world spend a lot of time talking about things like:
• The best thing you can do for your platform is write a great book.
• Publishing isn’t about who you know, but what you write.
For the most part, these are true statements. Nevertheless, networking with other authors can be tremendously valuable:
• Sharing the journey gives you access to information you might not have had otherwise.
• Hanging with other authors (online or in real life) gives you encouragement that you’re not alone in this crazy writing life.
• At the right time, a recommendation from a writing friend to an agent or publisher can change your life.
Like all agents and publishers, I receive far more submissions than I can say “yes” to. But occasionally, one of my clients or other publishing friends will email me independently with a recommendation for a particular writer. I trust that they’re only giving the referral because they truly believe the writer is ready for publication and that they’d be a fit for me. So when the writer’s submission comes through, I’ll give it more attention.
In fact, most of my new clients come with referrals or recommendations. Often, they have a terrific blog to which others have directed my attention. Or maybe they’re in a writers’ group with someone who knows me.
Don’t underestimate the potential value of knowing other writers. You never know when it might come in handy. Writers’ conferences, writers’ groups, critique groups, local writer organizations, and online hangouts such as Absolute Write can all be places to begin networking.
Knowing all the right people won’t do you a bit of good if you haven’t paid attention to the most important thing: writing well. But once you can do that, your relationships just might make a difference in your publishing journey.
Are you friends or critique partners with other writers? What do you think of the idea that it can help you?
[…] to get out, meet other authors, commiserate … and network. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner says, Don’t underestimate the potential value of knowing other writers … most of my new clients come with referrals or recommendations. Often, they have a terrific blog […]
[…] Who You Know Can Make a Difference […]
This is one of the reasons I think going to conferences is so valuable.
As my friend and I were trying to find a seat at the ACFW conference gala last Saturday, one of the award nominees invited us to sit at her table. Not only was it an honor to sit with her, there was another nominee at the table – she won! – AND Rachel McRae of Lifeway. I got to sit next to the super-sweetheart. She loved my book ideas and wants to read them.
I’ve been in touch with the author who so kindly invited us to her table, and look forward to establishing a relationship with her.
It’s so great getting to know other writers. They’re interesting, intelligent,
& fountains of information & inspiration.
[…] Who You Know Can Make A Difference — Rachelle Gardner […]
We write alone, but we also need community. And who better understands us than other writers? I am the better for each writer I know.
Non-writers don’t comprehend why I get up at 5 am every morning to write for a few hours before my day job, but every writer understands; we all need someone who “gets” us.
I have come to realize that my calling to write is accompanied by my calling to be in community. This past ACFW conference blessed me so much by giving me insight into this intricate web of friendships in which God has placed me. Sure, it is wonderful to gain interest for my writing, but what is amazing most are the annointed relationships I am discovering along the way. Not only do I find encouragement and support for my writing, but I have the honor to pour encouragement into others and be a part of their journey as well. What a blessing!
I have a few groups I’ve joined that have been invaluable.
My RWA chapter is incredible. We have meetings discussing everything from guns to garters. Our chapter’s writer’s conference is next week, and I signed up to be a driver. I get to have agents in my clutches, I mean car, for at least a half-hour each as I drive them from the airport to the hotel!
I’m part of the Fictionista Workshop, a free, on-line editing group. I’ve learned more about craft from them than anywhere else.
I have a critique partner who is not only incredibly talented but hilariously honest. Her last comment to me was if my villain had a mustache because he’s beginning to sound like Snidely Whiplash. I laughed hard for a few minutes, reread my chapters, and he has evolved.
Of course, there’s this blog. The people here make me see just how good being part of the writing community can be.
Having those who help keep our characters real is invaluable. Awesome!
I love my online writer friends. They are encouraging. They “get” it. And, I agree with Andrew who made a comment above, something about it being easier to choose to live and carry on when you know somebody gives a flip about you and what you write.
P.S. Jennifer and Joe, apprise me of the surprise visit to PJ’s church. I once said I didn’t care to darken the door of that denomination again – but, I might go to make a scene:) – not really, that’s not a bit like me. Actually, my opinion of churches has been raised by the folks who are my friends online – particularly here at Rachelle’s blog and over at Novel Matters.
If you guys go to PJ’s church, please bring a video camera, post it on YouTube, and link us here! That is something that shouldn’t be missed, especially if Joe actually asks his question on Nephilim/pagan correlations.
OK that put a big grin on my face, Ann.
Cherry, you’d always be welcome, but I would probably insist you sing and play.
Y’all made me laugh!
I wouldn’t really try to embarass PJ in front of his congregation…
…just on the internet for all the world to read! 🙂
And only because he’s such a good sport!
Cherry, you need to practice “Devil With a Blue Dress”. Then I’ll make sure I wear…hmmm, what should I wear?
Nephilim blue, of course.
You are BRILLIANT!! AHahahaha!!
I am, what I like to call “an author by accident.” Artistic by nature, I am very new to the literary art of writing professionally. And although within the last 2 years, in addition to my blog, I’ve been fortunate to have had some of my articles published, I know that I have a long way to go and a lot to learn before I seek the services of an agent and/or publisher.
Consequently, I’ve found an awesome book that is taking me through the writing and publishing process…step-by-step, as well as a SUPER awesome writing partner who is knowledgeable, professional and is as passionate and excited about my book as I am and we’ve never physically met!!!
I found your God-sent informative blog site through DeeScribewriting’s blog. My plan is to use both of these online resources (in conjunction with my other resources), to help and assist me in my writing process and in getting my book published. I couldn’t be happier right now! Thank you Rachelle…Thank you…Thank you! I am so looking forward to interacting and getting to know you and your blog subscribers.
Your New Subscriber,
A. Chef Ifayomi (EE-fah-YO-me) Victory
Vegan & Vegetarian Chef/Wellness Consultant/Event Planner
It’s interesting. I started really networking online not because I needed to know people, but because I craved community and I wanted to soak in and learn as much as I possibly could. That led to very genuine friendships. I didn’t go after them so I could get something, but no one can deny that knowing others sometimes helps in the writing journey. That being said, I would still be friends with all of these people regardless. They’ve made my writing journey all the easier just because I know I have support.
When I got to ACFW and was embraced by so many, all I could think was, “I’m home.”
You ladies looked like you were having the time of your lives!
We were! It was wonderful!
Now that I’m semi-retired (still doing some freelance writing), I have more time to attend writers’ conferences, meeting some wonderful writers, agents and editors.
I’m also part of a critique group who encouraged me to get my novel out there, a women’s fiction/mystery — that is now being read by two agents! (All parts crossed.) Their support pushed me to get it out there.
And, sometimes, I find I am my own encouragement, although I must say I dawdle. An inspirational essay sat in my desk drawer for almost 14 years. At the last minute I submitted it in the Inspirational Category of Writers’ Digest Magazine and just learned last week I placed fifth. Lots of nice perks being in the “top five” among them, the hope that my words inspire and give readers hope!
Absolutely true, Rachelle! I have my current book deal because of people I met at Mt. Hermon that I built relationships with. I took a few years, but eventually an opportunity arose through these friendships and now my first book is about to be published. I have also built relationships on FB and Linked-In that are leading to possible collaborations with like-minded authors.
Thank you for all the advice you give here. I belong to a critique group but you have been wonderful to learn from. Unfortunately you do not represent my genre (middle grade fiction), but I have learned so much from reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
Yup, Rachelle doesn’t do historical fantasy, but I learn more here than reading blogs about elves with Colt 45’s.
I met my cp through another blogger I follow. Before her post about finding cp and beta readers, I never knew you could or needed some one else to read your writing before you sent it off. It has been a big big help. Outsiders can help you spot mistakes you didn’t know were there because, well, you know your story and they don’t. I couldn’t be happier with my partnerships.
They absolutely can help you. I met my crit partners at the beginning of my writing journey. Gina Holmes decided to blog back when blogging was in it’s toddler years. Then she added author interviews and brought her two crit partners, me and Jessica Dotta on with her. Together, we built up Novel Journey, now Novel Rocket. The platform is huge. The friendships are gold. We help, market, and support each other.
I met someone in a local writing course and we started to get together outside of class to critique each other’s manuscripts. We became friends and she invited me to attend my first writer’s conference several years ago. At that conference we met more writers from our area and were invited to join a local critique group – a mix of published writers, technical writers, and others in various stages of their writing. It has been such a great experience! I live for those monthly meetings, but also now have a network of friends who are as passionate about writing as I am – a valuable gift! I’ve gained so much for my own writing from their different viewpoints, but also get to experience their journeys as they win writing contests, obtain agents and/or book deals and have become published novelists. It’s an amazing support group and I am constantly challenged to better my writing. Beyond that, we now attend conferences and seminars together to continue to connect with other writers, publishers, and agents. We keep learning and it keeps us inspired and fired up for ourselves and each other. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet some bestselling authors in my genre at these conferences who have exchanged email addresses with me and/or sat with me outside of the conference to give me personal advice and guidance in my writing and journey towards publication. I think networking is an essential part of writing, especially if it is your intention to get published. There is no better inspiration than sharing your passion for writing with those who understand it!
I totally agree with Rachelle.
I’ve been working with a group of about 20 writers in the last few years, with monthly meetings, and all conversations with them have this strange power of not only showing me new possibilities and techniques, but also keeping me motivated.
I also get many good insigths from the comments on my blog on writting techniques, “An Author’s Life” (it’s a Brazilian Portuguese blog, sorry…); I really believe that any author can improve his work and the chances of publishing it by reinforcing his network.
Best writing advice I’ve received was “Join a Writing Group”. Went looking and joined local RWA chapter. A continuing education with like minded people. Priceless!
I love my RWA group!
I just recently attended ACFW (I’m so happy I had a chance to meet you in person, Rachelle, even if it was a quick hello in the elevator) and I found first hand that relationships are a key ingredient in this pursuit of publication. Two writing friends offered to give me two pitching appointments with my dream Publication Houses (I didn’t get the ones I wanted) – and after pitching to them, both editors asked for my manuscript. I’m still blown away. Yes, having those friends give me their appointments was key to getting in the appointment room, but my writing and story idea kept me there and invited further action. So it is part who you know and part what you write. Never underestimate the power of relationship – but never enter a relationship for what you can gain, either. I hope I’ve been able to bless those two friends as much as they’ve blessed me.
You are a huge blessing to all who know you, Gabe!
Amen to that Lindsay!! One of my big regrets about not going to ACFW was not being able to see you again! And if I was there, I would’ve been able to meet Gabrielle.
I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures you and Beth posted from the conference!
I also wouldn’t know what I would do or where I would be today in my writing if it weren’t for my writing friends and mentors. What a gift they have been to me. Although their honesty has been painful at times, I realize how much I need both positive and negative feedback. This is how I’ve grown.
I joined a group when doing Robert Lee Brewer’s April Platform Challenge. A bunch of us banded together on FB, LI and twitter and we’re still going strong. We all share our goals, frustrations, and success, and encourage each other. They are a valuable resource, and I love them. And I’ve shared your blog with them too.
Initially, as I first began to pursue publication the concept of who you know weirded me out. I craved so badly for it to be all about the writing. I had misconceptions about this—thoughts of people schmoozing and ladder climbing. And while I don’t doubt that goes on, my experience has been different. I’ve been richly blessed by those I’ve met and befriended along the way. I’ve established genuine friendships and have found a solid support network.
And I’ve felt the great rewards that come from friends passing along a good word about me.
My writing friends are my tribe, my village. For me, it would be impossible to go it alone. I thrive on the exchange of ideas and their critiques make me a better writer.
Feedback from well meaning family and friends who always praise my work does not advance my craft skills. I need to hear, “This would be better if…” and “Have you consideredn…”
I love that! My tribe…my village!! Can I steal that?!
One can’t steal something that is freely given. It’s all yours.
Most of my writer friends have been met either right here, or through other blogs.
I enjoy their company, mostly because they’re a lot of fun!
It’s nice to converse with others who understand both the trials and joys of writing.
Also, most writers are also avid readers, who “get” the love of reading and the love of a well-constructed sentence/paragraph/chapter/book.
And, yes, the encouragement is wonderful.
But the icing on the cake is the sense of humor and mutual enjoyment of jokes based primarily on word-plays!
Wouldn’t you agree, Jennifer and PJ? 🙂
Yuh huh!! The pure joy of ribbing someone who writes “let’s eat Grandma” and having a long, strange, hilarious rabbit trail of comments that ends up discussing the Civil War, the history of gum and Akiro Kurosawa movies.
Joe, I think we get a crew together and drop in to PJ’s church on a Sunday morning. Talk about observing grace under pressure. I dare you to stand up and fill your pockets when the offering plate comes by. When he turns pale, you can yell “I need this for an critique!”
Better yet, raise your hand and ask for an explanation of the Nephilim and possible correlations to beliefs of pagan religions… 😉
AHAHAHAHA!!! I burst out laughing!! Well played, Joe!
Such questions in church are usually handled by my guardian angel. Unfortunately, he seems to have narcolepsy.
The Nephilim were definitely some naughty folks. In the next trilogy, they’ll be responsible for Vampires.
No! No! Say it ain’t so!
This story is supposed to be about Arthur, Merlin, and their kin…NOT the Vampire Chronicles!
Please, not another Twilight Series!! :-p
NOoooooooooo!! Joe, drive up to Kansas and slap that boy!
It helps so much! I agree! I agree!
I’ve been so blessed to get know an editor who has helped my journey no end (refining my craft, directing me to great sites), not to mention all the other authors who make me feel less alone.
I think in the end, who you know can go a long way towards helping us write that great book.
You are right on. I read a book by an agent and started following her blog. I met a bunch of regulars who have different levels of experience and not only are they encouraging as you said, but just recently they have given me advice about breaking into some local publications. Their online friendship has been priceless. (This is also how I found your blog – listed on one of theirs!)
I’ve loved seeing photos of ACFW on blogs and Facebook this week. I’m amazed at all the names and faces that are now familiar to me thanks to social networking. It’s awesome to have a writing “family” spread out all across the US (and Canada, Jennifer!).
Woo!! Thanks, eh,
Getting to know and networking with other writers has been one of the best things about writing.
Sure, I get a thrill out of re-reading certain sentences or phrases that I wrote and think, “Wow, I actually wrote that.” But sharing the words with others, getting feedback from others, learning from giving feedback to others, sharing a painful moment with a writer or group of writers who understand where I’m coming from…those things are priceless.
Of the writer friends I’ve met, most of them have been through this blog. Rachelle not only runs a fab blog, but a massive social network as well. Many people I’ve met here have been invaluable to me as mentors and teachers. Some have become friends via FB and email. Some I’ve had the honour to meet. One in particular has become important enough to me that I met that person along with their spouse this summer on The Great Indian Fry Bread Road Trip. I met another writer friend on that same trip and was thrilled to make those “oh you’re REAl!” connection and step out of the dream and into the reality of having friends who understand what it means to wonder “what would happen if I blew up the building instead of just burned it down?”
I know for a fact that several people I’ve met here at Rachelle’s House of Therapy will be in my acknowledgements.
And for one, or two or three, of the people I’ve met here, if I had a million dollars, I’d give it all to you.
Thank you to so many of you who keep challenging me to write better and cheering me on when things look dim AND when things look great.
And thank you, Rachelle, for having a safe harbour tucked away from the rough seas of the writing world.
“Like” Oh wait, this isn’t Facebook, sorry.
It’s great to see your posts. I know I’ll be inspired or in stitches.
I love having other writers as friends. I recently joined a critique group, and I’m looking forward to helping and being helped by fellow writers and friends. Knowing other writers has been invaluable in helping me learn craft as well as developing a healthy mindset in “this crazy writing life.”
What would I do without other writers??? It’s so important to spend time with those who “get” the dream, the deep love of creating with words. Too often, I tell my non-writer friends something I think is exciting and the most I get is a highly-worked smile and a “That’s nice, Connie.” I tell my writer friend online and I can feel her jumping up and down from miles away. My critique partners are amazing and the reason my writing has improved. I made “human-connection” my motto at the ACFW Conference this year. I connected with lots of wonderful people who shared their extraordinary stories. They encouraged me before appointments, and I them. It felt great! One connection from last year gave me a recommendation for an appointment this year, and so far it’s paid off. I think it helps, too, that other writers know with whom your work will fit. So rather than submitting, or meeting with, every agent/editor whose description may sound like your work, you have a better sense of working style, strengths and weaknesses, and even personality fit. You, and the agent/editor, are no longer shooting in the dark for a match.
Amen to just about every word you wrote! I’ve learned not to shoot in the dark, though, my aim is terrible in daylight!!
Writing may seem a solitary journey, but I am learning each day how much that is not so. Friendships with other writers is absolutely essential. I have learned so very much. I am so thankful for everyone who takes the time to pause and give example or encouragement. I hope
I cherish my friendships with other writers. We have an amazing ACFW chapter in Oklahoma City. I don’t know what I would do without their support.
Hi Julie. I must tell you, I’ve been in the Amazon Jungle. It was HOT there, steam rising off the ground, weird bugs making all kinds of noises kind of hot.
But it was hotter in Oklahoma City this July than it was in the Amazon!!
🙂 That sounds about right. It has been brutal here the past few summers. One day there will be tornadoes, the next 110 degree heat, and the next thing you know there is an ice storm. The weather is terrible, but the people are great.
They absolutely are great!
I visit OKC from time to time to visit kids and grandkids. When are your local ACFW meetings?
Our meetings are on the third Saturday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00 at the the Mardel in Edmond. Here’s a link for more info: http://okcchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com/
You should come. It’s a great group!
Ah OKC. My dad’s from Cement, OK near Chickasha, so I know the city well. 🙂
It’s a great place 🙂
My wife started college there, and our daughter, s-i-l, and two grandsons are there. I like it a lot. We’ve made many 4 hour drives from NW Ark both for family and for church trips.
Getting involved via blogs with authors (and a few agents) has been tremendous for me for the reasons you listed. I’ve met some people I would consider friends, have found a few beta readers, and learned a ton (and found the all-important emotional support). I am not, however, one who is comfortable either calling in or asking for favors, just as I am not usually very comfortable with blatant self-promotion. I guess it’s something of a failing on my part, but it’s how I am.
I have learned so much from other writers–weekly writing groups, workshops, critique partners–priceless.
Knowing other authors is about as encouraging as immersing myself in this here blog. I know newer authors as well as some who have been around the block with their many tales to tell. From a strictly business perspective, these amazing people save us a lot of time when they share their info (and they are so kind to share!). From a relational viewpoint they are more encouraging than I ever imagined and remind me that though they might have decades of writing under their belt, they’re still human and extremely down to earth. Knowing other authors is necessary for growth and they understand the plight of newbies like no one else.
I’m best friends with my favorite critique partner. It’s been 2 years & we’re only just going to meet in person next week at our first writing conference. We’ve helped each other polish our books & have seen each other through the ups & downs of query hell. Now our books are slated for publication only 6 weeks apart. I know I couldn’t have made it this far without her & I feel sure she’d say the same. In fact, every step of my journey toward publication has been made with dozens, if not hundreds, of writer friends who’ve supported me & referred me & just made the trip that much easier & productive. I never could have done it in all in 2-1/2 years if it weren’t for my network of writers, authors, & bloggers.
What timing, to read this post. Just yesterday, I received the email of my dreams. I’ve been referred to a huge publishing house (and book agent) – all because of the posts I’ve written on my blog.
I met the author (who recommended me) on Twitter – and, as a result of networking, have developed a nice rapport with this person.
I realize it’s up to me (and my work) to knock their socks off, but the fact I even have the opportunity to do so, is huge.
Whatever comes of this, I owe it all to networking and social media.
That’s awesome, Christine!
My heart sang when I read this latest post of yours. Two weeks ago I signed a contract to have my cozy mystery published. It would not have happened without the help of a fellow writer I only met a couple of years ago. Because this man is generous and wants to help other writers, he referred me to not one, but two of his publishers! After he left the first publisher, he encouraged me to query his new publisher because they were looking for unpublished mystery writers. I did and within two months my miracle happened! I have met so many wonderful writers and they are all generous and encouraging. I encourage everyone to “mingle” with writers, publishers and agents as much as you can!
Gosh, yes! Jennifer has been following my new novel as I’m writing it, and the fact that she’s waiting for chapters has given me the impetus to write, even when I don’t feel up to it.
More than that, when I’ve despaired of living through the season, the prayers and support of the people here have brought me back from the abyss’ edge.
It’s about accountability. When you realize that there are people who want to see what you’ve written, you have that obligation to write.
When there are people who give a flip whether you live or die, you have an obligation to fight all the harder to live.
The lovely poem, “Invictus”, gets that part of it totally wrong. I’m not the captain of my soul, because my soul really isn’t my own. I’m part of the crew, and I do believe that there’s a ‘Captain’ to whom I’m beholden.
And crewmates, to whom a have a responsibility to carry out my duties to the best of my ability.
Ya know…since you brought it up…AHEM. Annnnnnnyday now, Budek-Schmeisser! Feel free to sit your self down and finish that book!
I agree about not being the captain. Notice my job title on Facebook? 🙂
I’ve met most of my writer friends right here. They’ve read my work and continue to nudge me forward when I want to squat on the road and put up a taco stand. I’m going to leave someone out, but there are several big helpers on this blog. Jennifer and Joe have read two of the books from my trilogy, Beth helped me with my query style, Sally and Cherry helped with a chapter critique and others like Andrew, Adam and Steven hold my feet to the fire when I post a waffle. Then there are all the encouragers like Jeanne and Marion.
So yes, I’m friends and critique partners with a few. They’re awesome!
Doh! Left out Gabriel and Becky. Man I’m getting old…
Yup. You certainly are…awesome. That’s it!! Awesome.
Thank you, Jennifer! 🙂
Rachelle’s blog has been an amazing place to connect with other writers. You’ve also encouraged me, Jim, and I’m still anxious to try that sour kraut pizza recipe you sent my way!
EWWWWWWW! Gabe! NOOOOO!!
It’s really good! And yes, this is one of the great blog connections. On a side note, sorry for the misspell, Gabrielle!
PJ, I would not have survived this rocky writer’s road without you and all the help and encouragement you gave me. AND the Monty Python clips from Youtube!
You’ll not only survive, (I know I keep telling you this) but you’re going to be the next Erma Bombeck!
Isn’t it cool to see how we can help each other on this writing journey? Thanks for your encouragements too, Jim.
Tre cool! 🙂
I don’t know about all that…I just happen to like your books!
When did you say that third one will be ready for beta-reading? 🙂
Rolls eyes. If we’re lucky…January.
I’m working on it and thanks for wanting more. That means a ton!
PJ – It is pretty amazing how God can take something as “evil” as the internet and put it to good use for HIS Kingdom, isn’t it?
Glad to be on the front lines with you and all your other buddies you mentioned!
And you, Rachelle!
I was reminded anew at this past week’s ACFW conference how precious and valuable my writing friendships are to me. Whether I need encouragement, taking down a peg or two, knowledge, sympathy, prayer, or whatever, I have an army of ready friends to come to my aid. I’m blessed, and I try to do the same for others.
I have a critique partner that’s also my friend, which is a bonus. We met at Mount Hermon this year, and although our WIP’s are very different we are learning from each other. Her encouragement and insight inspire me to keep up the hard work.