Our latest guest blogger, Laura Austin, shares her views on the importance of informal networking within publishing plus five handy tips for getting the most out of social gatherings with book folk.
Some people thrive on it, others shy away from it. Some people think it will enhance their career while others think nothing beats sheer hard work – what’s your view on networking in publishing?
Admittedly it can be daunting at first, especially if you are new to the industry and are not naturally extrovert. However, over time the relationships you develop at social and networking events will have a huge impact on your career and on your enjoyment of the publishing industry, so it’s worth making the effort to network successfully. Here are my top five tips to get you started:
- Smile! Everyone wants to meet new people and have a good time. Smiling makes you more approachable and you’re more likely to have fun too.
- Ask questions. Rather than thinking ‘what am I going to say now?’ try to find out about other people. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you find topics of common interest. You’ll also learn a lot more than if you talk incessantly about your own views on the future of digital…
- Don’t ask for work. If you start off asking for work you’ll come across as an opportunist and people will shy away. Wait until you’ve established good relationships with people first. (Unless they’re in publishing recruitment of course).
- Make time. Decide how often you want to attend networking events and schedule them into your diary. The more you get out there, the easier it becomes. Not only does your confidence increase, but you start to see the same familiar faces and build solid relationships which can open up opportunities in the future.
- Know your limits. Don’t drink so much that you’re incomprehensible. You might not remember what you muttered in the project editor’s ear, but she will!
So why did I agree to write this post? I was in a bar about six months ago with a group of ex-colleagues and we realised that we all found it difficult to keep in touch with different people we’d worked with. It seemed logical to set up our own publishing social group: BookMachine. We’ll soon be hosting our third party and we expect a range of publishing professionals from educational, trade and magazines to attend. Maybe we’ll see you there too?
Laura Austin has worked in publishing for over four years in editorial, sales and rights. She is currently working as a freelance sales consultant.
BookMachine is a London-based drinks social for folks in the publishing industry.
The next BookMachine event takes place on 2 December 2010. For more information, check out www.bookmachine.co.uk, follow them on twitter: @book_machine, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.