Common Symptom #2: Networking
Speak Softly and Carry a Big Book
You’re at a fancy venue. You have a glass of wine in your hand, maybe some food or maybe only the fond memory of food at this point, you’ve been standing here so long, watching, waiting, trying to find an in, an opening, a shot – that’s right, you’re networking.
Networking in publishing can be a fairly daunting prospect, especially for young graduates. It’s difficult to be assertive when you don’t claim to be an expert on anything this early in your career. And if you’re quiet and retiring, you’re not exactly going to make a lasting impression. But it’s a worthwhile endeavour so it’s important to try.
As we’ve previously covered in our work experience blog, publishing is a saturated market so you will always have to run a little faster, climb a little higher, work just that little bit harder, to make any headway. It can be bitter pill to swallow but it comes back to how badly you want it.
The important thing to remember is that, believe it or not, networking in the publishing world can actually be quite fun! It’s a chance to mingle with like-minded people who know your struggle and are usually quite helpful in offering advice or tips. A memorable conversation can go a long way. What starts as an observation about the venue or your journey there can lead to suggestions and introductions you could not have come across in any online search you might try. Take a business card, take two! Take as many as you can until you have a winning hand. And if you have your own cards, even better.
There are great events happening all the time, from Christmas parties to pub quizzes, hosted by a variety of societies and institutes, all of them masters at bringing people together for a night of fun and games while also creating an ideal space for networking.
And don’t worry, if networking doesn’t come naturally to you, remember that, like everything it gets easier the more you do it. You don’t need to own the room, you can be yourself and let your passion show through. Think of talking points in advance to help break the ice, familiarise yourself with publishers and who their authors are so you can show you know their company and what they’re about.
Next step? Sign up to newsletters, check out websites like the SYP, Bookseller, BookMachine, then pencil in some dates – who knows, it’s possible you could bump into one of our staff making the rounds and we might be just the person who can help you!