Monday, January 19, 2015

The importance of Networking.

Although we know the importance of networking in the author business we often have our heads down writing and miss opportunities to do it. I love the people part of writing (readers, book sellers, publishers, reviewers, bloggers, other authors...), but when I'm feeling the pressure of a deadline my vision of focus shifts to the page. In that part of the process we are alone.

And while the alone part can be daunting, critical and fun - networking is key to getting the word out about our work. With no traveling troubadours going from town to town sharing our wonderful stories, we have to do it ourselves. I have a decent voice, at least I used to, and could probably make up a song to sing about the stories I write - but that's not really what works these days. It's social media and the impressions (hopefully good ones) we make on the people we meet in our authoring travels.

Making a habit of hanging out at your favorite bookstore is so easy to do. Watermark Books & Cafe is one of my favorite places to be. They have tons of great books for sale, events for readers and authors, and a delightful cafe. A good cup of tea, a book, a cookie - OH BOY! Nothing better, in my humble opinion.

Writer workshops and conferences are a great way to meet and greet all the wonderful people associated with this profession. If funds are tight you can usually find one within driving distance of your home and probably someone to share a room with. (Check out Shawguides Writers Conferences to find one in your area.)

Some of my best writing buddies were a result of conference attendance over the years - sharing a spare room or hotel - and the fun and educational experience together. People who love writing are the coolest people, don't you agree? And no one understands the plight of a writer like another writer. It's also a great way to connect with publishers, agents, editors and book sellers.

But most of all, don't forget the readers. You'll find them anywhere and everywhere. For example: There's a boutique in the Old Town part of Wichita that I love. Shopping and buying gifts there is an adventure and doesn't hurt my growing earring collection any. It's called Lucinda's. I've made friends with the owner and she has a wonderful group of sales gals working for her. I love it so much that I put the store in my last novel (Patchwork Family). And guess what, my books are selling very well there!

Another favorite spot of mine is the library, where books and book lovers can always be found in abundance - so make it a point to donate copies of your work to your local library so they can share it with the world. Tell your friends and family to ask their local library to stock your books as well. My first novel Feisty Family Values can be found in Australia and thirty of the fifty states in the union.  Not a bad bit of networking.

Enjoy the journey, my friends.
Born and raised in Kansas, Bonnie Tharp spent much of her formative years in her grandmother’s kitchen as official taste tester. Although not much of a chef herself, she enjoys good food and believes all the best discussions happen at the kitchen table.
Bonnie is the author of Patchwork Family, published in March 2014 by Belle Bridge Books. It’s the sequel to 2010’s Feisty Family Values, a novel of women’s contemporary fiction.


Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Bonnie,

Networking is very important. You are so right! I don't do enough of it myself. But the area I currently live in is directly across the G.W. bridge from Manhattan. So we don't have a real sense of community here--for example, no bookstore. I think Kansas is much friendlier in that regard. My husband went to college in Kansas and loved it.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Where did your husband go to school in Kansas? It is a pretty friendly place with a strong sense of community. But I've also noticed that in the company of writers. And you do really well in the social media arena, I see you often conducting wonderful interviews and writing interesting blogs. You go girl. Thanks for the comment.

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