I am actually writing this early today, instead of waiting until the end of the night. Although knowing me, I’ll sit and muse on the topic for hours before I finally get around to getting it posted.
The main reason I think its so important to network early on, before you have an agent, an editor and all of that, is because of the support system. We all like to have someone cheer lead us, don’t we? And for a lot of people, when you tell the people in your regular life that you’re working on writing a book, the responses aren’t always the most helpful. One comment I got was something to the effect of, “Oh good, at least you have a day job to fall back on.” And then following it up with insinuations that I’d never get published.
But I have friends I’ve met, critique partners and a support system that I could lean on if I needed it. That’s why I’m such a big fan of a service like Querytracker – that’s where I met a lot of my original support system. I love reading their blogs, catching up on what’s going on with them, and sharing my own struggles in the publishing world. Plus, when we all started talking, none of us had an agent, let alone a book deal. And now that trend is slowly turning.
I’m a big believer in critique partners. I don’t think I’d catch half the stuff I do in my own works if I hadn’t read for other people. I have a few constant partners that I would share with, and a few new ones I’ve met over the last few months. But all of them bring something different to the table. And that’s what’s so important. You want a diverse audience, right? So find a diverse group of friends. Thats’ a good place to start.
And my two part bit of advice. Take everything with a grain of salt. I’ve had people read my stuff that had NO comprehension of the story. And I’ve had people that adored it so much they didn’t have any comments. Neither one of those is ultimately helpful, but both CAN be helpful in the long run. Knowing someone loved your story that much can give you much needed confidence at a low point, and seeing where someone else hated your book can help you figure out what you can do to fix it. Because lets face it, no one’s first draft is perfect. Mine DEFINITELY is not.
So yeah. Go team? 🙂