Lately I've been discovering just how important networking is for aspiring authors. It opens up a lot of important doors, from meeting other writers to form a critique circle, to possibly connecting with an agent. Here are a few ways aspiring authors can network:
Create a facebook fan page. Join twitter. Become a member of online forums like AgentQuery Connect. Research literary agents, particularly agents who are interested in your genre, and join their blogs to participate in the discussions. Nathan Bransford and the Query Shark have particularly great blogs, with tons of great information and opportunities when it comes to getting your query letter the best it can be. Both offer query critiques to selected entrants, and Nathan Bransford also has Page Critique Mondays as a regular blog segment.
Your Writer's Platform/Web Presence
Establish a website and showcase your writing. Blog, and comment on the blogs of others (I confess I have to take my advice on that one, and visit others' websites to post). It also can be helpful to join a writing site such as HubPages. I've put a few chapters of The MirrorMasters there, and it's led to meeting some great writers and being invited to be part of a wonderful opportunity--a critique circle.
If you have a completed manuscript, this could be a wonderful way to network in person with literary agents, as well as fellow writers. It seems like a great experience, and one that would be well worth it.
There are many ways to network, and so far it's been an awesome experience. I look forward to receiving in-depth critique of my work, and learning to provide this as well for others. It's such a fun stage at the moment, jumping in and learning about the business of writing and dreaming of building a future career. I love the idea of helping others along the way, and it's been so exciting reading queries and meeting the next generation of new writers. May we all see our work on the bookshelves someday! I'd love to hear from all of you about what things you do to network. What's worked best for you, and have you discovered any other resources or strategies?