Being a freelance writer and editor entails more than just skill, qualifications and a good turn of phrase – increasingly it includes being a consummate networker – whether it’s on social media platforms or in person, it’s a skill that is invaluable when making new business contacts and securing work – it is also about building a solid reputation and linking up with other professionals in a similar field. I came across the following article on the website http://www.dailywritingtips.com, which is a great writing resource, about networking and I think the tips are quite useful for any writer trying to break into freelancing.
These were their top 10 tips for successful networking:
1. Join an online writers’ community or social-networking site. (Facebook or LinkedIn are good starting points.)
2. Become a member of a writers’ association. (In South Africa you could join SAFREA, which is the South African Freelancers’ Association, or the Professional Editors’ Group.)
3. Sign up with a genre-specific writers’ association, such as the Mystery Writers of America.
4. Form or join a writing group.
5. Look up a site for writers of fan fiction, such as FanFiction.net.
6. Take a writing or literature class or workshop, and keep in touch with the students (and the instructor).
7. Attend writers’ conferences.
8. Attend (or organise) author events, poetry readings, open mics, and other literary gatherings.
9. Cultivate relationships with editors and with other writers. A rejection letter can be a beginning as well as an ending, and freelance writers (and editors) can pass leads on or hand surplus projects off to each other.
10. Develop your networking skills outside the writing realm by joining a civic or professional organisation, volunteering with a nonprofit organisation, or getting involved with a club or a hobby group.
Of course, creating your own blog is another way of showcasing your work, and being active on discussion forums for writing professionals is another way of using other writers as soundboards for your ideas and for getting advice.Where possible list your services on editing and freelancing associations’ sites, or any other sites such as Bizcommunity, where you can list your services for free. And, never underestimate the power of the Internet – if you have the resources available, a personal website is a powerful networking tool.