Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Wrong Path to Publication: #AuthorFail

Disclaimer A: I'm still on the path to publication.

Disclaimer B: I'm no where near done making mistakes -- some of which are likely to be epically stupid and more than a little mortifying.

That said, the stupidest thing I've done on my path to publication is ... failing to network well. 

"It's not what you know, it's who you know."

I hate that saying with the sulfuric fires of a thousand dragons. The extreme introvert in me loathes to admit part of the assertion is true, yet not in the way of the inevitably nepotistic inference. The lie, of course, is that I can be successful and clueless. Bullshit. In the world of genre publishing, whoever the business fails to weed out before the book releases, the readers nail in a heartbeat.

That leaves the stomach-twisting truth:

"It is who you know."

The most wonderful and terrifying thing about genre writers is they are willing to create opportunities for folks who have proven to have a clue about the genre and a modicum of social skills.

How does that lead to my stupidity? I've met marvelous people in my quest for publication. Those marvelous people have either offered introductions or actually made the introductions to even more marvelous people.

I fail to do anything to develop those relationships past the introduction.  

Do NOT, not, not, not, not, not repeat my stupidity. Do take two minutes here and five minutes there to drop a line to those people you have been most fortunate to meet. Let them know you're thinking of them. Don't wait six months to follow up on an introduction. Say "hi" more than once a year. Do NOT contact them only to ask for something.

How do you maintain career acquaintances, dear reader? What is your one DO and your one DON'T?


  1. "I don't wanna!" he wails, pathetic introvert that he is.

    It's not that I am loathe to meet people, I'm not. I have greatly enjoyed meeting many fine writers over the last few years(even a select few IRL).

    What I am loathe to do is to take advantage of having made those acquaintances for any kind of professional or (God forbid) monetary gain.

    After almost four years on twitter I still cringe if I tweet a link to one of my own blog posts. Last week I broke down and emailed a post link to people that I have long corresponded with otherwise and...I think they all hate me now.

    Ok, maybe they don't. Wait, they Should hate me now because I did a selfish thing - tried to get attention. *Oh THANKS Lutheran upbringing for THAT*

    All kidding aside, this is a hard thing for many of us, but one we obviously need to come to grips with.(as opposed to "come and gripe with" which is a different thing) D'oh! Sorry, sometimes I can't seem to stop myself. Call the (poor)humor police, please and now.

    Thanks for this post. I'm guessing I still have a lot of figuring out to do on this issue.

    1. "What I am loathe to do is to take advantage of having made those acquaintances for any kind of professional or (God forbid) monetary gain.

      Yes! This. This. This. I don't mind when these acquaintances make contact with or requests of me. Most often, I'm happy to help. It's a completely odd double-standard I'm trying to overcome.

  2. Great post. My problem is, I don't want to bother people (even though I sometimes end up doing it inadvertently anyway... or at least I imagine I do. It's a vicious circle.)

    I guess my one 'do' is visiting multiple blogs and attempting to contribute intelligent things to the conversation. My 'don't' is feeling like I don't have anything to contribute. Or if I do, I spend too much time afterwards wondering if I said the wrong thing. (See above.) Or was that not what you were asking?

    1. Commenting on blogs is a great "Do" for networking, particularly if the blogs have a small contributing audience (like, erm, this one). It's how I got to "know" you. ;D

  3. I'm going to to come down on the other side of this for a moment - because in some ways, it's just as awkward for the people who did get the book contract and the agent. It's not that I don't want to help people or give them a name or anything like that, but I usually hesitate to offer because I don't want to offend anyone. (Sounds weird, maybe, but for some people there's a certain element who want to do things on their own, etc....and the last thing I've ever wanted to do is come across as patronizing.)

    So, I wait for people to ask. >_<

    1. Thanks for being a voice on the well-connected side. I, for one, am a beneficiary of asking you for help.

      Note: Allison is a lovely person who puts up with me in spite of my infrequent communications.