6 Tips for Successful Networking

NetworkingWhether you’re a writer, a publishing professional, or in any other job or field, you’re probably going to be networking at some point. These days we do a great deal of networking online; but there are still the old-fashioned ways of building networks: face to face. You may be at a conference, a cocktail party, or industry event where you have the opportunity to meet people who can become part of your “network.”

What are the best ways to bring people into your personal and professional networks? These tips apply to Twitter, Facebook, conferences, and every other networking situation.

1. Focus on relationships.

The strongest network is made up of real relationships. Treat people like people—not as a means to an end.

2. Be genuine.

People can tell when you’re trying too hard to make an impression or be a salesperson. Be yourself.

3. Be interested in others.

Ask questions. Show your enthusiasm for their projects and interests rather than just talking about yours.

4. Give more than you take.

Freely share information, resources, and contacts. Offer to help others whenever you can.

5. Network with long-term goals in mind.

If you’re thinking short-term (e.g. “I need endorsements for my current book”) you’re more likely to come across as needy and grasping. But if you’re thinking long-term and big-picture, you’ll be properly focused on building relationships and expanding your network of friends and contacts.

6. Promote others rather than yourself.

Always be quick to put in a good word for others who warrant it. Speak kindly and positively of other people, and use your own resources to promote them when appropriate. You’ll gain a terrific reputation as someone on whom others can count.

Using these strategies will help you build a strong network full of people who are genuinely on your side, part of your “tribe” as Seth Godin would say.

How strong is your network? Do you use these strategies? What are some other tips you can share for building strong networks?


  1. whoah this blog is great i like reading your posts. Stay up the good paintings! You know, lots of persons are looking round for this information, you can help them greatly.

  2. Joshua Kerrigan says:

    This is a great post, I think you should turn it into a 2 or 3 part series.

  3. LJ Boothe says:


    Thanks for these tips–reminders to relax and be genuine. I’m going to post them on my laptop and pack them with me every time I go to a conference!


  4. Peter DeHaan says:

    These are all great points and it is good to be reminded of them.

    I find that being a good listener and following up with meaningful questions helps me to establish a rapport with others. I think that is part of networking, too.

  5. I especially like your point six, Rachelle. For Christians that method ought to resonate as consistent with Scripture. Not to mention that it makes sense. If five people, or twenty-five people, are talking about a book when they don’t have a vested interest in seeing it succeed, it ought to have more impact than if one self-interested author does so.


  6. Networking’s tough for me. Now, especially…I’m trying to finish a new novel this week, and my mind is totally in the plot. Even trying to tweet is a major effort!

    When I’m not actively engaged in a large writing project, then networking’s a lot easier…but never easy.

  7. Elise says:

    Thank you for this post Rachelle!

  8. Love this post and totally agree!!! I love networking but get a little nervous, too.

    Love the note about promoting others! I need to do that more… some crazy insane thing in me is afraid that when I promote one person someone else will be like, “well, why didn’t she tweet about MY book” but I totally realize how stupid that is!

  9. Thank you, Rachelle. Great tips. I think the first three are key, and if you are doing them, then the other three will follow. For me, number one sums it up. Remember that you are connecting with people, human beings. Respect them, value them as people, not a means to an end. The second tip is related. If you respect and value yourself as a human being (who you are, not what you are–writer, corporate executive, whatever) then you can feel free to be yourself.

  10. For me networking means developing relationships for mutual communication, camaraderie, education, support and encouragement. None of them function effectively if they’re only one-way.

    Your #1 is the most meaningful for me. Some of my most treasured friendships are ones I’ve made through the online writing community.

  11. Larry says:

    “What are some other tips you can share for building strong networks?”

    Free. Chocolate. 🙂

  12. Craig says:


    This is a very interesting post. I work for the Chamber of Commerce in my town, where as you can imagine my entire life is networking. So, as an author, I’ve been trying to take the same approach. I’ve got four kids (including a 3-month old) and a more-than-full-time job, so I don’t have time to join a writing group down at the local bookstore. But I could make the time for an on-line peer group. I’ve put MANY requests out on Twitter for some camaraderie, but all I’m seeing are self-pubbed authors wanting to do one thing – push their own book (over and over). Which is fine, but not helpful from a “we’re all in this together” perspective.

    I am all about networking, camaraderie, best practices, encouragement, pats on the shoulder after a rejection letter comes… So I’ll put this out there: If any of my fellow authors – published, unpublished, agented, unagented – want to set up a network for friendship, support, advice, mentoring, etc. let me know. Whatever platform works – e-mail, facebook, twitter…

    You can get me at twitter.com/CraigWTurner or facebook.com/craigwturnerauthor. Would love to connect!

    Thanks for posting this, Rachelle!

    • LJ Boothe says:

      Hi Craig,

      It looks like we have some things in common besides writing. Our one mutual friend on Facebook is my cousin Brian! And I was also having a hard time keeping a crit group going, both face to face and online–people are so busy!–but here are a couple of things that have helped:

      I keep in email touch with a couple of past writing-group friends, by sending out quick writing updates from time to time. They always send back a word or two of encouragement!

      Whenever I have a manuscript, or chapter ready for alpha readers, I ask one or two knowledgeable contacts who have previously said they’d be willing to read, to be alpha readers for me.

      Then recently I discovered http://www.critiquecircle.com (through Rachelle, I think) and that has been wonderful. It is free at the basic level, well organized, and fair in that it requires give and take at whatever level you want to participate. Look me up there; I’d be happy to critique back and forth.

      Another idea is to form a new online group of four to five people. I’d be willing, and I have one other person who may be serious about it. What do you write? I write for children in the mid-grade novel and picture-book genres.


      LJ Boothe

  13. I think the key to effective networking is simply to give more than we would ever expect to receive. If we stay others-focused, rather than self-centered, we’ll be amazed at the results.

  14. Denise says:

    I love your list!

    Recently I came upon a new blog and her focus that day was to invite everyone to write a blurb and add a link to their own sites. It was a big hit and I found some really great new ‘friends’ through her site. I’ll definitely go back to her site because of that experience and am thinking of how to do something similar on my own site for others.

  15. Sarah Thomas says:

    My favorie way of networking is volunteering. I have a hard time sitting back and just watching, and volunteers are usually greatly appreciated! I got my current job in a non-profit ministry by volunteering (without employment in mind) and I’m volunteering with some writerly events this fall and next spring. It also thrusts you into the fray where you’ll meet people you probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Plus, it feels good!

  16. Lisa Orchard says:

    Good post Patrice! Great advice and it’s always good to be reminded of these points. 🙂

  17. Sandy Cody says:

    Good advice. I’m struck by how much it resembles the old “Golden Rule” I was taught as a child.

  18. I’m tired of all the self promotion on Twitter and Facebook. That’s not what social networking is about. Some individuals think they’re outsmarting us with how they do things, but that only makes them look like idiots for thinking we’re not as smart as them.

    Too bad the worst offenders will never clue in. They are the ones who need to read this post, but they’re too busy spamming to take the time to read it.

  19. Jeanne says:

    You’ve said the same thing before in different posts. Focus on people and building genuine relationships, not on capitalizing on what people can do for you. Makes a lot of sense. This is what I hope I am doing as I gradually build a network.

  20. Lisa says:

    A firm friendship is more valuable than growing social media numbers any day:)

    I am encouraged by writers, they are a generous and kind bunch.

  21. Actually, these just sound like good life lessons in general.

  22. The ‘genuine’ part and ‘giving more than you take’ is so important. Great post!

  23. carol brill says:

    I said for years that I wanted to write a book, but it took joining a writing group to seriously start writing. I credit most of what I have learned about writing (and my day career, too) to networking, building relationships and learning from others. And, it is such a great feeling when you learn enough to be able to give some of it back to others.

    • I’ve learned just enough to tell them who has something good to say about their topic. Being a doorman is networking too. 🙂

      Your blog is a testimonial to good networking. You practice what you preach!

  24. Rachelle, I am very happy to discover your website. I am sharing it with everyone because it means so much to me to read your advice, and things to make one’s writing better.

    I know it means so much to everyone to be able to come here to read all you write about to be successful. I’m glad to be one to come here, also.

    I write a blog and post daily. I haven’t written a book, but… I do hope to one day. My blog is very important to me, I want it to be the best it can be. I still have so, so much to learn.

    Thankfully… people like you are ‘out there’ so, one can learn from you. I just wanted to tell you… thank-you. Granny Gee/Gloria (Faye Brown Bates)

  25. I agree. The hardest point for authors entering the fray of marketing and promotions is, in my experience, that “Be Genuine” advice.

    There’s a fear factor about being public and exposed that confuses authors between the genuine self and the personal self.

    Oh dear, it’s too late at night for me to be coherent about this. But I’ve made a note to explore this “Be Genuine” advice for our AM101 readers. Thanks for this post!

  26. My father-in-law says that you should never have to tell people how wonderful you are – your actions should speak for themselves. I completely agree with him, and you, Rachelle! Networking shouldn’t be about promoting yourself. You need to be genuinely interested in others and they will naturally be drawn to you.

    My other thought is to treat people how you want to be treated. Often attitudes and feelings are like mirrors – people reflect back to you what you display to them. Networking is building relationships, and good relationships start with positive encounters.

    • That golden rule thingy works!

      I like your emphasis on genuine, because when it’s fake, it makes me wary. Have you ever had anyone do the syrup dump on you? Where they come up so sweet that you know they’ve got an Am-Way club hidden behind their back? It reminds me of the old saying, “Be cautious of the first one to polish your apple, because they’ll be the first to take a bite out of it.” Thanks for being genuine, Gabriel!

  27. Thank you for this list, Rachelle. I like your outward focus. The self serving often heap their plate until they drop it.

    The movie “A Beautiful Mind” sprang into my thoughts. John Nash’s applied equilibrium says that each of us does our best while taking into account those in our group. Failure to do so leads to unilateral failure (e.g. Congress).

    Being a fan of people is a lot more fruitful than trying to get fans and it’s a lot more fun.

    • Jim, you’ve done a great job with the outward focus. I enjoy your genuine interest in my writing and my comments and, because of that, you’ve stood out to me. Thank you.

    • LJ Boothe says:

      Hi P. J.,

      I really like your analogies. I agree it’s a lot more fun to get to know people instead of touting myself. I love talking about my writing–who doesn’t–but I find that getting to know how other writers think, work, network, etc. always benefits me in the end, too.

      LJ (pc: L. J.)

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