Networking…What Do I Need?
One of the best things about going to a conference is getting to hang out with other eccentric people that get us. Let’s face it. We are not like other people. We think in our own way and follow the beat of a different drum, which is usually on the up beat instead of the downbeat (that’s for all my fellow music people out there). So, when we have the chance to be around people that don’t make us feel odd, it’s refreshing and uplifting.
So…what do you need to network at a conference? Well, for introverts such as my self, you need to open yourself up to the idea of meeting new people. I know how hard it is to walk up and start a conversation. It’s scary and makes my stomach knot up, but it’s worth it in the end. I have made friends with lots of amazing people. Plus, you never know who you might run into at a conference. What if you strike up a conversation with someone who has connections to the publishing world, and they like your book? You could make the right connection and be signing a book contract before you know it.
One thing you’ll need for networking purposes is a way for people to keep in touch after conference. Business cards are the best way to do this. It looks and feels professional, and it keeps your face and name with those important conference contacts.
Okay, what do I put on a business card?
The options are endless for this question, and if you ask ten different people, you’ll get ten different answers. But, one thing they will all agree on is that you need to have contact information on your card. This means email address, website address, Facebook ID, Twitter Handle, etc.
I would caution against putting down your home address. #1 It could cause a safety issue. What if you lost a business card, or gave it to the wrong person. This could put you and your family in danger. When you get to the stage of a contract signing and being in contacts with an agent, editor, or publisher, then you can give them your information in person or through secure channels. #2 Hardly anyone uses snail mail these days.
Other things that you might include on your business cards:
A Professional headshot
I don’t mean a picture your cousin took of you sitting on the couch with a book. I mean you went to a professional, got dressed up and got your picture taken by a photographer. This way, the agent, editor…etc. can put a face with a name, and it might bring back something they really liked about you.
At a conference, I get lots of business cards. The ones with pictures of the person stick with me more than those with just a random shot of scenery and someone’s contact information. That could just be me of course.
You can also decide whether to put your book information on the card. Maybe you want people to have a snippet of your book, so you put the one to two sentence pitch on the back of your business card. It could pay off!
If you have a book published already, you might include it on your business card. A little publicity never hurt anyone.
As you can see there are many options. I’ll put my old business card at the bottom of this post so you can see it. My contact information is out-of-date, so I need new ones. Once they are finished, I’ll post a picture of them as well.
The main thing in networking is to get out there and meet people!