The Importance of Networking

This is a guest post by Vicki Delany.

Publishing is a tough business and breaking into publishing is harder than ever. The first step, of course, is to write the very best book you can. Have it critiqued by a person or persons you trust to be honest. If not writers themselves or otherwise involved in books and publishing, they should be well read, because you want people to know what they’re talking about. Not your mom.

If their advice has value to you, take it. If you don’t take it, that’s entirely up to you, but you should know why you disagree. Armed with what you learned in your critique, edit and edit again. And then, at last, your book is ready to start going out in the world.

Where it will join the other ten million manuscripts in an editor or agent’s slush pile.

Which is why I believe one of the tools in your ‘getting-published’ artisanal should be networking.

What does networking NOT mean? It doesn’t mean approaching an author at a book signing and asking them the name of their agent. It doesn’t mean asking an author you don’t know personally to read your book and provide a blurb. It doesn’t mean telling a published author you’ll give them a review on Amazon if they do you a favour.

What networking does mean is joining the community. Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, your local writers group. Go to small festivals such as Women Killing It, and take the opportunity to talk to the writers. Get to know the other writers and their work, talk shop, read their books and promote them if you like them. Ask for their advice, without being pushy or demanding about it. Make friends and be a good friend. It’s not hard, but it takes time.

Canadian writers are a friendly bunch, and happy to support each other.

My own case in point: I’d published several books and had an idea for something that would take my writing in a new direction, but to move to the next level with it, I needed an agent. I asked a good friend (who I’d met through my involvement in the Crime Writers of Canada and Capital Crime Writers in Ottawa) if she would show my new proposal to her agent. She read my outline and sample chapters, and said she liked it. (You have to be prepared for a “No”. The author’s reputation is on the line if they recommend something. ) She sent it to her agent with a short note, and the end result is that I got an acceptance from the agent and a publishing contact with Penguin Random House.

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty-five books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.

Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. She is the 2019 recipient of the Derrick Murdoch award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. Vicki lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Buy her books on Amazon.

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