Somewhere along the way, the concept of networking became synonymous with eighties power lunches, business card swapping, and I'll-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine behavior. Contacts met at social event were sized up quickly, assessed by what they could offer. The intimidation factor for newbies to the playground was huge. So power players traded favors and got more powerful and a whole bunch of people watched from the sidelines and thought, why won't anybody help me?
Networking is important for everybody, even authors. No matter what stage we're at: writing, editing, querying, promoting, we all need help. But let's spin that on it's head: no matter what stage we're at: writing, editing, querying, or promoting, we all have something we can offer someone else: blurbing, beta reading, fresh eyes for typos on a final draft. Instead of being intimidated by the people who are more successful than us when we meet them, we should be offering to help them. When we offer our help and the offer is accepted, we build our own self-worth. Think not: what can this person do for me, but rather, what can I do for this person?
It's a liberating concept that takes the intimidation factor out of networking. We at Polyester Press are now looking forward to our next networking opportunity not with trepidation, but with excitement.
This post inspired by Adam M. Grant's book GIVE AND TAKE.