Posts Tagged Networking

Make New Virtual Friends

One of the nice things about being a writer is the lovely people you meet along the way. These may be real world contacts, virtual acquaintances from social media or cross overs between the two. If you meet other writers at a workshop or conference it’s rare that you’ll part without swapping Twitter handles, Facebook existence or other means of giving each other virtual support. And sometimes that person who’s said ‘Hi’ on social media will turn out to be local to you and it’s possible to meet in person.

These contacts aren’t necessarily always other writers. There’s a growing trend towards freelance working, aided by technology, internet and social media. Writers are one small part of this freelance world. We are usually not salaried and have only ourselves to rely on to find commissions and markets for our work. Mixing with freelancers from other professions can help us to treat our ‘creative calling’ as a business and manage our time better.

Over the last few months three different contacts have offered me internet publicity via blog interviews. These people all started as virtual contacts but two were near enough to meet in person as well. Below are the interview links. You’ll find out stuff you (possibly) didn’t know about me plus, if you settle back with a cup of tea and rummage around, you’ll discover information on co-working, writing tips and help managing your freelance business.

Ameesha Green is a freelance editor of non-fiction books and also runs the Freelance Life blog.  My favourite question from Ameesha was, ‘What skill do you think is most important in freelancing?’

Lorraine Mace will be a familiar name to many of you; she writes for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum as well as writing crime novels and doing much more. My favourite question from Lorraine was ‘Do you Google yourself? What did you find that affected you most (good or bad)?’

Dispace is an organisation facilitating co-working in coffee shops and other venues up and down the country. For when you get fed up of staring at the same four walls! Dispace asked me for five tips on writing and self-publishing non-fiction.

Has anybody else made helpful contacts via the internet?

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Jelly Working

The concept of writers and other home-workers pulling out laptops and working in coffee shops is familiar. It lets us escape those same boring four walls of home and all the domestic distractions. And it makes us feel part of society, even if the only person we speak to is the barista.

UK Jelly takes this a step further. Their aim is to ‘to bring home workers, freelancers, small business owners and entrepreneurs together in a relaxed, informal, working environment to maximise creativity and minimise the isolation that being your own boss can bring.’ It is not networking to sell yourself or your business. It’s about having some company whilst you work and maybe exchanging help and advice. At Jelly events the venue, wi-fi and parking are free, the only charge is for refreshments.

I went along to my first Jelly event last week. There were only a few of us and we had introductions and a bit of a chat before getting our laptops out to work. I deliberately didn’t connect to the free wi-fi because I wanted to do some distraction free editing. By the end of the session I’d done two hours solid work and met some new people. It beat coffee shop working because I didn’t feel guilty about taking up space for a long time with only one drink and I liked that I was part of a group. My local Jelly only meets monthly but I’ll definitely be going back in February.

Why not find out if there’s a Jelly near you?

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Networking Advice from Lin Treadgold

I first met Lin Treadgold on the forum My Writers’ Circle.Lin Treadgold

Lin is a ‘Hero Member’ with thousands of helpful posts whilst I am a comparative newbie. Today Lin has agreed to answer some of my ‘writer networking’ questions.

What are the benefits that you get out of chatting to other writers on My Writers’ Circle?
I’ve been a member of My Writers’ Circle for the last nine years, since the forum opened.  I received an invitation to become a moderator on the site and spent three years in that role.  I stay on the forum because I understand the needs of new writers and how difficult it is, especially if you don’t know the ropes. As a published author I enjoy using my experience to support like-minded people.

You have a blog, It’s Lin Here. Do you use any other forms of social media?
I have a Facebook page and I also use Twitter but that’s about all I do. I am a great believer in face-to-face promotions.  I love doing book signings.

Tell us about your real life networking?
It is important to go out there and meet the public, the new writers, and the authors.  The internet can be a hostile place and words are very powerful, too powerful, and can cause a lot of pain.  It is far better to meet your fellow authors. A face says a thousand words more that an ‘internet friend’. You need this if you are to be a writer.  They will help you survive. I am a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors.  The RNA is the friendliest Association you could wish for.  The support is amazing and without them I don’t think I could have got this far.

Your romantic novel, ‘Goodbye, Henrietta Street’ was published in summer 2013 by Safkhet Publishing in both paperback and digital format.Goodbye Henrietta Street

Even with the backing of a traditional publisher like Safkhet, authors are required to promote their books. How did you do this? 

I enjoyed doing my own promotions on this novel. I know the locations well that I used for scenes in the book and I know the people  who are best to approach, hence I sold 150 books in less than three weeks.  I had a book launch on The Isles of Scilly, at The Mermaid pub on St Mary’s.  About 40 islanders were there with the Sea Shanty group Bone Idol.  Their songs made the whole event seem both surreal and wonderful. I am returning in July to do some more events to help keep the book rolling around on the islands and in Cornwall. Then I went to Yorkshire as there are also some scenes in Whitby.
Both paperback and e-books are selling well and Goodbye Henrietta Street is No.10 on Goodreads, Best of British Chic-Lit.  I think my successes are down to the fact I am not afraid to be known. If you don’t tell people about yourself they won’t know you exist. I also do radio shows where possible.

Finally, please use the ‘networking opportunity’ of this blog post to tell us a little about your current writing activities?
It’s important to have another book on the boil, as the last one is ready for publication.  I am presently writing The Tanglewood Affair, a romantic saga set in 1976, which tells the story of attractive 29-year-old, Jess Stamp. She is seeking a lifestyle change after losing her father. Jess moves to Dorset and rents a room at Tanglewood Farm, from divorcee farm owner, Connie Dijkman.
The farm is inhabited by Connie and her daughter Rosie, fiancée Ewan, Hans, and the handsome Jonni Holbrook, herdsman at the farm. It seems Connie is in the habit of taking in life’s waifs and strays, both animals and humans and this leads to conflict within the house.
Jess is aware of Jonni’s caring nature as he helps her with her luggage. However, life on the farm is not what she envisaged. The swearing, brash talk, and drug taking are shocking, but despite this and with the helpful Jonni, she becomes drawn into a family relationship with everyone, but something isn’t quite right with their family life and Jonni warns her not to get involved. What is it about Jonni that makes him so reluctant to allow his friendship with Jess to go any further?

The story is finished and I’m now working on it with my editor.  I also have another two books planned; one is a novella, the other a wartime story. If you want to become a writer, you should be one step ahead of yourself.

Thank you so much for your time today, Lin and very best wishes with ‘Goodbye, Henrietta Street’ and your future plans.

It’s a pleasure Sally and I would be happy to answer further questions from the good folk out there.

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The Writers’ Toolkit 2011

Stuart Maconie

Image by Lancashire County Council via Flickr

‘Write often, to a deadline and with an audience in mind. Have something of the marketer about you.’

This was the advice of writer and broadcaster, Stuart Maconie (pictured), in his keynote address at The Writers’ Toolkit 2011, held in Birmingham last week. He went on to tell us that the mastery of words is power and we should be proud to say ‘I am a writer’.

It was a full day of panel discussions and chances to chat to other writers. I found the session on ‘Networking as a Writer’ the most interesting and I came away with several scribbled notes about how to do this (both on-line and in real life):

  •  Be generous – help those who can’t possibly help you. It will be remembered and what goes around comes around. Share things that might benefit others – don’t see them as your rivals.
  • If it feels like networking then you’re doing it wrong or trying too hard. It should feel like a conversation, not a sales pitch.
  • Don’t vent your feelings online no matter how badly you feel you’ve been treated – cyberspace is a big place and you never know who might be reading.
  • Become part of the real and virtual community. Join or start reading/writing groups and classes. Do book reviews on your blog & approach other writers to ask if they’d like you to review their book.
  • Don’t limit yourself to writing events – attend other types of conferences and look at different types of blogs.
  • Leave intelligent comments on the blogs of others to make people curious enough to have a look at you. 
  • Listen to what others have to say – don’t just sell yourself all the time.
  • Be genuine and approachable 

The event was organised by Writing West Midlands.

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