Top Tips for Networking
While networking can feel very daunting, it is nevertheless very important. In these uncertain times, the majority of networking has to be carried out online. Below, we provide our top tips for online and in-person networking in preparation for when things return to some form of normality.
Known as being a great hub for sourcing new opportunities, connecting with existing aquantaincies and discussing current topics, LinkedIn also provides an accessible platform to connect with others within your industry.
Create a detailed profile. This will help those you are interested in connecting with better gauge who you are and if the connection will be mutually beneficial. Make your profile is the greatest it can be e.g. completing skill tests and adding your certifications.
Make sure you are connecting with professionals that work in the area or areas of publishing, or even the publishing houses, that you’re interested in.
Include a personalised note explaining how you found them, what you hope to gain from this connection and what they can gain from having you as a connection. It is also a good idea to mention that you are an aspiring publisher starting out in the industry and are interested in learning more about what they do. You can even ask if they would be happy to answer a few questions regarding their role and responsibilities.
Have a professional username.
Build your network by following people relevant to both the career you want to pursue and your interests. If you include your interests in your bio, people will be more likely to follow you back.
There are many lovely people on Twitter who have their DMs open to any questions you may have about the publishing industry. Sometimes they state this in their tweets or any articles they are featured in. Therefore, it’s good idea to follow the accounts of different publishing professionals, as well as publishers themselves, and to keep up to date with any interviews they may have done.
When sending a message, start on a friendly note such “hope you are well” as it can help to create a good first impression. Finally, make sure these messages are short.
This is probably one of the most intimidating ways to contact publishers, but also one of the most rewarding. The email method shows how proactive you are in making connections and learning about the industry from people that work in it daily.
Find an in that will differentiate yours from the thousands of other emails sent to publishers. This could be a joint acquaintance, or a short encounter the recipient may have forgotten about.
Send your email just before the start of the working day. This means your message will remain at the top of the pile and is therefore more likely to be read.
If you are networking after a webinar such as those hosted by the SYP, try to make eye contact at several points throughout the conversation. A good tip is to stick a post-it note next to your webcam as a reminder to look up regularly. Finally, ask what them what they thought of the panel and the topic at hand. This will make you more memorable.
Fairs, such as those held in London, Beijing and Frankfurt, provide a great opportunity to connect with industry professionals. However, as these are mainly for selling the rights to new titles, networking can prove very difficult. Many publishing professionals may refuse to speak to you without an appointment or the prospect of a sale.
Prior to arriving at the book fair, contact the sales team of smaller publishers in attendance and offer your services as a free helping hand during the day. Should they accept, this will allow you to learn more about an important aspect of the publishing process and use the quieter moments to inquire about other aspects of the job.
Failing this, use the day of the book fair to approach individuals during lunchtime or periods when they look inactive. Use these opportunities to ask a few questions about the lists and titles they are currently selling.
Since publishers tend to be free closer to the end of the day, approaching them during this time might be beneficial.
At the end of the day, you could offer to help with packing up in exchange for a few minutes of career advice. This tactic has led to a free book in the past!
There are many different paths to establishing a publishing network and we hope that these tips help you build yours. Our next feature will be all about paid resources to help you upskill.