I have always believed that networking in publishing is done with each and every query letter or submission you send out, that making a connection with agents doesn’t mean you have to attend conferences or meet them in person, it can happen and, frankly, should happen, through the work you are giving them. Which is why it’s always a bad idea to rail on an agent after receiving a rejection.
That being said, I’m always amazed when authors don’t want to use those networking opportunities to put themselves at the top of the pack. So here are some suggestions for networking through submissions:
- If an agent gave you positive feedback on a previous work and asked to see any future works, always, always include them in your next round of submissions (obviously as long as it fits their tastes). Think of it as a cocktail party on paper (or via email). When seeing an agent you met once before, maybe in a pitch appointment, you would probably go up to her at a cocktail party, reintroduce yourself, give some insight into your first meeting and then start a conversation. Submission networking is no different. Reintroduce yourself, remind the agent why you’re querying again and that she liked your work, and begin the conversation.
- Any time an agent gives you personal feedback or inspiration you should submit to them again. There’s nothing more frustrating for an agent than to hear that she really changed a person’s work and that the author later found another agent and sold. If you liked someone, felt a connection, and used her advice to make your next work stronger, or even your current work, go ahead and query again and let her know why. And yes, do so even if she didn’t specifically ask to see the work again. It’s networking, and as I’ve always said, what’s the worst that can happen?
- When making a connection or a reconnection give as much information as possible. We all have limited memories and it never hurts to have enough reminders so that we know exactly who someone is.
- No excuses!! I hear so often that writers are for the most part introverts and getting out there and networking is hard. Well, buck up, folks, networking is hard for everyone and you can sit around and use that as an excuse or you can learn to grow beyond it. If you want success in any business you need to learn how to network and put yourself out there. Publishing is no different.
- And lastly, have fun with it.