Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Networking is so important in all walks of life. And networking for writers is no different – maybe more so because writing can be such an isolated pursuit.

I’ve heard people bemoaning the perception that you have to know someone in the industry to get an agent/publisher, or you have to live near a big city such as London where most of the agents/publishers are based.

This simply isn’t true.

I’m a good three hour train journey from London and the nearest city is in the next county. Yet I have managed to network. And if I can do it anyone can.

So here are my top suggestions for finding networking opportunities – wherever you may live!

1. Writers groups: Most people will live within striking distance of a writers group, maybe more than one. They offer an excellent opportunity to meet people who share your interest and if you find a good one will be able to offer helpful critique.

2. Book Groups: Often affiliated with book shops or libraries – an opportunity to attend talks by visiting authors and to meet other people with an interest in literature.

3. Writing workshops/courses: Again – a change to meet other aspiring writers and maybe even lean a little along the way.

4. Writing/literary festivals: There are big ones and small ones. Worth going along to. You never know what could happen.

5. Online writers groups/forums: There are loads of these – perhaps a subject for a separate blog post. Find the one that suits you, but don’t get so absorbed you start losing writing time!

6. Blogging. You’d be surprised the number of interesting blogs by fellow writers I’ve come across since I started this blog.

So how do you network? Anything I haven’t listed that might be worth a try?


  1. Typically for me I'm kind of doing it the wrong way round! I have 6 and 5 covered, do a bit of 4 and 3 but never 2 or 1. And, yes, I really should ...


  2. Well that's understandable Simon - 5 and 6 are by far the easiest. Just out of interest, which forum to you hand out on?

  3. Great post! Networking is so important as you say. Writers can, by the very nature of their work, become quite isolated so networking is good for the writer's soul. It can also provide opportunities they wouldn't get sitting at home at a computer.

    I love my writing group and they've helped me so, so much. I've been really lucky there. I must make more of an effort to go to more literart festivals this year.

  4. These are important points you make, Kate. There are two elements to networking, to my mind, and both vital.

    The first relates to what you say about needing to know someone in publishing to be able to get a breakthrough... blah blah blah.

    Does it help? For some, undoubtedly. But it's not just about knowing someone who is an agent or a publisher. It's about learning how they operate, how publishing works. Understand that, and you start to see why certain ideas/manuscripts don't work, and how best to position yourself.

    Take Litopia as an example - spend six months as a member there, and you'll learn as much about publishing as you will about improving your writing. I know I did.

    The other element of networking is establishing a platform. From the viewpoint of being a small indie publisher, it's somewhat scary how many unpublished writers don't understand what a platform is, or if they do, don't seem bothered about creating and developing one.

    They are increasingly important - vital, as I said above - particularly in what is becoming a much more open market, caused by the rise of e-books.

    For small presses, with limited funds and a need to try and judge print runs pretty much bang on the money, evidence of a platform is a huge consideration when deciding whether to take on a manuscript.

    Sure, if it's absolute gold, chances are a publisher will snap it up, even if the writer is a cave-dwelling hermit. But those are few and far between, and most need to be worked on with the writer. In these cases, platform certainly comes into the equation, big time.

  5. Julie, yes, lit festivals are definately worth attending

    And John, wow, thanks for that. Some really good points about author platforms.


Please share you thoughts, I'd love to hear from you....