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It Really is Who You Know

Recently I was looking up coaches and as when you look to hire anyone it’s easy to become overwhelmed. I was searching the internet and, frankly, had no idea what I was doing. So I asked someone for advice and she gave me the most obvious answer. It was one of those duh, aha moments for me. She told me to put it out there to my circle. Well duh. I have friends who have actually been coaches and yet it never, ever dawned on to just contact people who know me best and ask for their guidance or recommendations.

We do this all the time and why? Why are we so afraid to open up to the people who are closest to us and ask who they know? Why do we instead waste hours and days scouring the internet and fretting over making the right decision?

Tell me, how many of you are formulating a query list without bothering to check with your writers group or other friends first? How many never even bothered to let an agent know that you’ve heard great things about her from Buford VonHound who is in your critique group? You don’t need to have a referral to ask advice on an agent or drop a name. Trust me, if you happen to know Buford and write with Buford I’m going to take a closer look at you book because, well, I’m amazed Buford can write.

So often we’re afraid to bother people or, as in my case, don’t even think of the obvious. If we need help, advice, or recommendations we reach far and wide and forget those who are closest to us, those people in our lives who actually want to help us. Who would love to be able to help. I know I love it anytime I have something to offer my friends.

I have friends all over the world and I bet 80% of their friends don’t even know I’m a literary agent. Imagine if you asked your friends if they know someone in publishing what you might learn. Imagine finding out that your neighbor’s college roommate happens to be a literary agent. Imagine having that connection. It could happen you know. All we need to do is put it out there.

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4 comments

  1. It’s true, but I guess we don’t always think about it, especially for the little stuff. Your point about international friends is a good one – it would never occur to me here in Oz that someone I know might have connections in the literary world in the US. But when I think about it, I am on US writing loops, so…

  2. A long time ago I was looking for an agent. I’d been struggling, trying to do it “on my own,” which was SO not working. My first agent queries were roundly rejected, and then I queried someone I’d met at a conference, but before I even heard back, I pulled the submission because there were too many authors complaining about ethical issues with the one I’d contacted.

    So I asked a friend who was, like me, still unpublished in NY, though quite successful with the burgeoning ebook industry, who had attended conferences and picked up on some talk about a new agent who was turning a former book packaging company into a literary agency. I trusted Pat, and queried Jessica Faust, and the rest is my writing history. Sometimes, all it takes is reaching out to others who might be searching for the same thing you are, and it’s never embarrassing to ask for help from others who might know exactly what you’re trying to find out.

  3. So true! I encourage writers to ask ask ask. Networking is key. You never know. And the really kind, decent people in the world will open doors for you. It’s a karma boomerang all the way around.

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