Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Your Friends Aren’t Going To Publish You

Written By: Tracy - Feb• 24•14

I have some writer friends (who shall remain nameless) who have had problems off and on for years with a creeper/fan. This person’s (let’s call him voldemort, again because he who will not be named) behavior crosses the line into stalking – partially because voldemort has the mistaken belief that if he could just make friends with a successful writer, he can use that friendship as a doorway to bigger name friends, and eventually to becoming the next Stephen King (or something).

I say that to say this: Writing is a business, and networking is a component of it. But the old shoe about the business being not what you know but who you know is completely false. If your writing chops aren’t there, who you know is completely irrelevant.

Over the years, I’ve has the chance to get to know a lot of wonderful people in the writing business. But this hasn’t translated to massive fame and fortune (nor should it). Why? Because my work isn’t on that level yet (emphasis on yet). Instead I have a lot of great friendships that have enriched my life.

One of my favorite memories is of sharing a room with an editor friend (and her slush readers) who rejected a short story years before we met. In the middle of the night (after sitting up and talking writing, and just as we were about to all fall asleep) I mentioned “you know you rejected my story, right?” After a long silence, she said: should I sleep with one eye open now? (Of course not).

The point is networking isn’t about “what can this person do for me.” It’s about making friends. If you approach everyone you meet like Wile E. Coyote after the roadrunner, you’re going to alienate everyone you meet.

Your friendship with a publishing gatekeeper might get your foot in the door, or it might get you past a slush pile. But that’s as far as it goes. If the work isn’t a good fit, it won’t sell on the strength of a friendship. And as a friend, your job is to be ok with that.

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