Workshop Transcript

Networking for Success

with Linda R. Rymill


*** Topic for #kidlit: Networking For Success

Suzy-Q: There she is!!!! Miss presenter~~~~~~

Lyra: drum roll....

Gail: And right on time.

Suzy-Q rolls out red carpet

Suzy-Q set ice water on table

zap: I couldn't log in as lindy--so you'll all have to

recognize me anyway

zap: can you do that?

Suzy-Q testing testing .... is the mic working?

Suzy-Q: try doing this zap /nick lindy

Lyra: I recognize you, zap -- your book is sitting nearby on my


*** zap is now known as lindy

Suzy-Q: ta da

lindy: oh thank you

Suzy-Q: your welcome

lindy: See how well this networking works?

lindy: develop friendships and they can help you succeed at


Lyra: what title is your topic, lindy?

lindy: Networking for Success

Lyra: ok


lindy: Who knows the first rule of networking?

Lyra: smile and use a breath mint? (okay, I'll be serious...)

lindy: (don't be shy)

Lyra: So what's the first rule?

Kate: Be out there

lindy: That's a good one, actually. We never want to offend

lindy: That's excellent, kate!

Lyra: How about--don't be shy

lindy: Be prepared to give!

lindy: and try to overcome shyness.

lindy: And practice makes perfect

Gail: And give first, and it may come back in spades.

Lyra: Give ... friendliness, information?

lindy: yes... and respect--especially of others time and viewpoint

lindy: So so true Gail

lindy: I've found I learn the best stuff through the people I least

expect to receive info from

lindy: So so true Gail

lindy: I frequently see crowds around speakers... authors... and EDITORS

lindy: and they can all be helpful. But we each need to know that we each have something to offer and something to gain from knowing each other

Lyra: good point, lindy

Lyra: The sharing I get from other writers has always been enlightening & helpful

lindy: I know Kia has cultivated very good relationships/ contacts

lindy: Have others?

lindy: You, in the back with your hand waving... do you have something to add?

kia: I have gotten a tremendous amount of assistance and information from people at conferences and everywhere


lindy: How is networking like critiquing?

Gail: And everyone knows kia.

Lyra: Other writers will often point out flaws in your manuscript or suggest a lesser-known market

Suzy-Q: you may not like what they say, but it is usually very helpful.

Verla: It is gaining information from outside sources?

Gail: If you help others, they will help you.

margaret: I want to say that I live in a remote area and the intenet has given me an opportunity to network.

lindy: true true

Kate: relationships work better on a positive note, whether a critiquing relationship or networking

lindy: And take notes! What you can't use now, you may use later, or it may be just the bit of info someone else is craving

Verla: I agree, margaret. I also live in an area where there is not a lot of stuff going on day to day

Gail: And I am retired. It has given the opportunity to not be isolated.

lindy: The internet can be an extremely valuable source of networking

Verla: Yes, like this workshop, for instance.

Suzy-Q: That is how I found all of YOU.

lindy: Always stress the positive.


Lyra: I used to attend a weekly critique, but with the internet I get enough support while staying at home

Verla: Same here

Verla: Except my critique group only met once a month and this chat group is DAILY

Gail: True, but you need a fresh eye, too.

Gail: You get too close to your own stuff, and can't see the problems.

Suzy-Q: Very true Gail.

lindy: And sometimes, you will receive advice which doesn't seem to fit your style.

lindy: Never assume the other guy knows more than you... but listen and learn

Gail: And the networkee needs to respect that.

Verla: And I feel I get more from the on-line critique groups. People are more apt to be tougher on your manuscript when they don't have to see your eyes fill up with tears...

Gail: Got that right.

Kate: ineresting, Verla.


margaret: To be honest, the term networking is somehow unsavory to me. I would like to think success would depend on what you write, not who you know.

lindy: Margaret--I totally understand.

lindy: And I agree--to a point.


Lyra: One comment the editor said last weekend was that the successful authors were the ones that kept learning; attending conferences, etc.

lindy: I think in order to be successful at writing you need to practice and study and write well

margaret: Yes, Lindy, and hustle. But if you don't have the talent, all the hustle in the world isn't going to do it.

lindy: But when preparation (you have a great ms or two or three) meets networking--it's making your own luck

lindy: Personally, I feel many are published or mentioned or they're books are reviewed by meeting the right people--but without the groundwork of quality writing and consistent improvemnt--

Lyra: good comment, lindy Luck is fickle, but needs some help, too

Verla: At the conference I attended on Saturday, Elizabeth Law - Senior Editor of Viking Children's Division - emphasized one thing over and over....It's not WHO you know or what your cover sheet or your query letter has or doesn't have in's the MANUSCRIPT that counts. She was VERY vocal on that point.

lindy: It's hardly lasting success.

lindy: more like a flash in the pan

lindy: True. You must have the skills!



margaret: Don't you sometimes feel that conferences are created so that people can come, give a speech, and sell their books?

Lyra: I never felt that way from a conference, Margaret

Lyra: SCBWI conferences tend to be led by very sharing people

lindy: BUT, if you do indeed have the skill, it's nice to know that Editor so and so is looking for a non fiction piece on sponges which you just happen to have.

Kate: So networking is not just working to get contacts and know who is who; it's also working to know who wants what...

Verla: Right, kate.

Verla: For instance, Elizabeth Law with Viking told us she wants to publish a historical novel. She says she has never yet found the one she wants, but she IS looking for it.



margaret: There is one thing that I think conferences are good for. They stimulate you.

margaret: The single most powerful event in my writing career was when I heard Lois Lowry speak.


margaret: But, we're writing for children here. You are not going to get rich and I see a lot of people going to conferences, hauling in a carton of books that they will sell and sign.

margaret: Not to say this is bad.

lindy: I have met many authors who are as you are describing.

lindy: Their goal seems to be to be well published and sell a lot of books and make money.

lindy: NOT to sell quality or service the people for whom they are writing.

Lyra: The authors I've met like that are usually writing for the adult market

lindy: Margaret, I believe some people in the world are users and some are givers

lindy: But I believe that the givers become successful and the users never realize success.

Lyra: When I bring books to workshops where I speak, it's not to make money, but make the hard-to-find books accessible



lindy: Many make a lot of money on school talks

lindy: And many give the same speeches over and over.

lindy: BUT

lindy: there are also FINE authors, who write FINE books andare indeed giving of themselves.

Lyra: I believe the more you give without ulterior motives, the more you get back

lindy: I think everyone needs to decide exactly what their own goals are.

lindy: I've learned they are not the same for everyone.

margaret: However, are you giving so you can get back?

lindy: Not me.

lindy: Never

Gail: Not me either.

Gail: It is more fun to give.



lindy: Using people for your own purpose is not networking

lindy: Networking is offering something

lindy: sharing knowledge

Lyra: Networking is a sharing of interest and enthusiasm

lindy: Pooling resources

Verla: I think networking is giving of yourself to help others succeed

lindy: If you strive to network with those you admire

margaret: Lyra, good definition of networking.

Lyra: And when you talk to other writers, they understand how lonely this profession can be

lindy: Those who share your commong interests and your goals,

lindy: This is what i have found most rewarding

Verla: It's like pulling others up to your level so they can get ahead of you and then pull you up to the next level with them

lindy: Yes Verla. Who wants to picnic at the crest all alone?

Lyra: I LOVE to talk to other writers--they understand me

Dawn: To me when you network, you're surrounding yourself with people who share the same interests

Lyra: yup

Verla: That's a good way of putting it, dawn!

Suzy-Q: Networking is like finding a family you never knew you had.


margaret: When you write something, do you know whether it is good or not before someone critiques it?

margaret: I always know when something is good and when it is execrable.

lindy: Define execrable

lindy: (not afraid to be dense here)

margaret: Lindy, think of the word excrement and you have the definition for execrable.

Lyra: I never know how my stories read until I read them to someone else

Gail: I think it is good, but I still need to check it out.

Kate: Sometimes, margaret. Sometimes not.

Verla: I usually THINK my stories are good.

Verla: But even when they are good, they can usually be improved by someone else's observations.

margaret: True, Verla, as I have found by having several neat people critique my work.


lindy: Margaret, I'll offer a strong opinion on that

lindy: How well do you know writing?

lindy: How well read are you?

lindy: How objective have you learned to be about your own writing?

Gail: I am subjective.

Gail: We all are.

Lyra: I always value critiques from writing friends (even when I don't agree)

Verla: So do I, lyra.

lindy: You must learn to be objective to improve your writing.

lindy: This comes with time

lindy: and practice

Lyra: I love it when someone gives me a suggestion, a new plot twist, I hadn't thought of

Verla: And I don't always agree with critiques of my work. But the overall ideas are almost always valuable.

margaret: That's why it is nice to have three or more people critique it (and on line). If two people point something out, then you have to look at what they are saying.

Suzy-Q: I value every critique I get.. I may not agree with them.. but I always learn.

Kate: Right. Sometimes a negative critique can really make you think about your work (even if you don't change the work)

Gail: And you have to network. Your spouse always thinks you are great.

Verla: Not my spouse, gail. He tears my work to shreds.

margaret: Right, Gail. I've critiqued stuff and when the author objects to what I tell them, I say if you want someone to tell you how great you are, have your family read your manuscript.



Verla: Where do you find the most valuable networking takes place these days, lindy? In person or via the internet or something else entirely?

lindy: I have had extremely valuable contacts on the internet, at conferences --and in person.

Lyra: I'd say my best connections have been from personal meetings

margaret: I think so, too , Lyra.

lindy: And one of the most valuable contacts I ever made was with my fellow writers who are now in my critique group

margaret: Lindy, I assume this is not an on-line critique group.

lindy: I stood up in a crowded room at an SCBWI conference in '94 in Detroit and said

lindy: "I write picture books and want to form a critique gourp in Rochester"

lindy: Two people approached me; we are now very good friends; all published and all members of the same group

lindy: We shared the same passion for quality work

Verla: Were any of you published at the time, lindy?

lindy: No

lindy: Neither was anyone else

margaret: Lindy, the writers' support in the Rochester area is superlative. I went to an Oakland U. conference there which was excellent.


Lyra: My very first critique group, which lasted 8 years, was started because we were at a small workshop and four of us sitting together just planned to meet

Lyra: I can credit networking with two of my sales


lindy: I think it's important to always thank people for any info they offer as well

lindy: And a written thank you is always appreciated.

Gail: I send E-flowers, too.

margaret: Yes, Lindy. My on-line group reminds each other to write thank you's for rejections.


Verla: Interesting idea, lindy. You don't think the editors will feel you are just "sucking up" to them?

Verla: I guess that was a little bit strong of a statement...

margaret: And what is wrong with sucking up?

margaret: We all do it.

lindy: "Sucking up" in my opinion, is false. A lie almost. Using.

lindy: Deliberate manipulation.

lindy: Let me ask you a question, Verla. (regarding "sucking up")

lindy: If someone were to send a mansusript to you for critique,

lindy: and you took the time to offer one (although it was not totally flattering) how would you feel if they thanked you?

Lyra: I HAVE been thanked for a not wonderful critique

margaret: Well, Lindy, when I do a critique, I most often get a thanks.

lindy: Editors are just people too. And lavish praise seems false to me.

Kate: As an editor, I would say, that, yes, we are people, too.

lindy: But a sincere comment will always be appreciated.

lindy: Good things, good contacts, fruitful contacts come from sincerity

lindy: And everyone appreciates being thanked, yes?

Verla: Hmm. That is a very good thought, lindy. Thank you.



Lyra: Well, I've never thanked an editor for a rejection (not that it isn't a nice idea--just never occured to me)

Dawn: I haven't thanked them either

margaret: You'd be surprised, Lyra. Sometimes your thank-you will make the editor remember you.

lindy: I think it's ALWAYS important to be considerate of another's time and if an editor writes ANYTHING, thank her

Lyra: It's a nice idea

Gail: But that strikes a cord with me.

Dawn: Thanks for the idea

Suzy-Q: What would you say.."Thanks for rejecting me?"

Gail: Thanks for your time.

margaret: Suzy, Q. No, thanks for taking the time to consider my work.

Sally: If I thanked every editor for a rejection, I'd run out of money buying note paper.

margaret: Then maybe you are submitting too much, Sally.

Verla: Hmmm. I get the feeling Lindy was not talking about EVERY rejection, but just about the ones where the editor took the time to make a comment on your manuscript? And that you would then send a note to the editor thanking her for taking the time to tell you what was wrong/could be made better etc on your manuscript?

Sally: That makes sense, Verla.




lindy: And when you are going to attend a conference, or an author signing or whatever--study up!

lindy: Read their books! Be prepared to offer a compliment or comment about something that is happening in their life!


lindy: And keep a list of people with similar interests. when you learn info from a listserv--or in person at a conference, send an email to your "group of contacts" and share!

margaret: Love it, Lindy.

Lyra: My best networking connections have been from other authors; recommended to work with their publisher


margaret: Also, if you don't already have it, create a letterhead that has something to do with writing for children. That way the editor can see you are serious.


Verla: One really great thing about networking is getting to know such wonderful people

Verla: I think my very best friends these days have come from networking.

Verla: Like lyra.

lindy: Mine too, Verla

Verla: I think that's probably because they share the same passion for writing that I do.


Kate: One of the writers for Keystrokes says a rejection means the work was not marketed correctly




margaret: So how do we tell the difference between sucking up and networking?

Lyra: The different is sincerity, Margaret and genuine enthusiasm for writing

Dawn: I agree Lyra




George_Loe: So, how do we make casual contact with editors?

margaret: Fin out what bars they frequent.

margaret: You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Kate: George, meet them at conferences

lindy: George, do you mean to talk to editors at a conference?

George_Loe: I have never, yet, attended a conference

George_Loe: I found too many people ready to take my money to teach me or market me.

George_Loe: With no guarantees!

margaret: Ah, George, it is easy to become disillusioned.

George_Loe: I'm learning that SCBWI is legitimate.

margaret: Which brings us back to networking, George.

Verla: I got the idea for my first book AND for my style of writing from an SCBWI conference.

Verla: And got the skills necessary to perfect my writing from a lot of the tips from people AT those conferences

Lyra: my second sale came because when I was at a conference I asked an editor how to get into her file

Verla: Wow. I didn't know that, lyra



lindy: Attending conferences is an excellent way to meet editors. But the contact will not be immediately fruitful unless you have prepared by perfecting your writing skills

lindy: and knowing something about the house that editor represents.



lindy: I think an excellent way to start a conversation--connect with someone is to ask a probing question.

lindy: Ask an editor what they find most rewarding about their work

lindy: Ask an author what they wished they had learned early in their career



Verla: I once had the nerve to CALL an editor.

Verla: She had posted a notice that she was looking for a certain kind of writing, but didn't say how long the pieces needed to be.

Verla: So, I called her as the deadline was looming

Verla: And it was already too late, but she offered to look at my work anyway.

Verla: She talked to me for 45 minutes!

Verla: I sent her four of my best manuscripts and she critiqued them LINE BY LINE!

margaret: Did she buy any?

Kate: and didn't buy a one, right?

Verla: I sent her a very grateful thank you. (No, she didn't buy any)

margaret: But you learned something, didn't you?


Lyra: lindy, can you trace your own publishing success to any specific networking?

lindy: Yes.

lindy: First and foremost

lindy: my fellow members of my critique group

lindy: Then, meeting an editor at a conference--and she bought my manuscript.

lindy: Not on the spot, but later

lindy: And NOT the one I thought!

lindy: But one I read at an open mike reading.

lindy: Then, by attending a local mixed genre writing group, I received an offer to speak at an event

lindy: By speaking at that event, I was invited to speak at another

Lyra: Just getting yourself out there--speaking, critiquing manuscripts, volunteering--is good

margaret: Yes, it is.

lindy: Thank you Lyra. That's a HUGE connecting link in networking


lindy: NEVER to be overlooked.

lindy: (it's part of that giving thing...)

Lyra: If you're on the volunteer comittee that has an editor coming to a workshop, you can often spend more time with them


Verla: I just got my first paid speaking engagement because another writer recommended me. A writer I first met at a conference.

margaret: But Verla, this is my point. You have to do all this stuff to supplement your writing.

Verla: But...that's half the FUN of the writing, margaret

margaret: No, Verla, for me the fun is writing. Not all this other junk.

lindy: Margaret, many writers feel the same as you.

lindy: And that is not wrong.

Lyra: It's just a different style

lindy: Some writers do not connect with others.

Verla: Hmmm. There are lots of different personalities in writers

lindy: And they do indeed non participate.

Lyra: I didn't know I enjoyed talking to kids until I started to do it

lindy: I did that for three years.

lindy: From 89-92

Gail: I did it for 32 years.

margaret: What did you do for 32 years, Gail?

Gail: I taught school for 32 years.


Lyra: While I personally love the network aspect of writing, I know of one VERY successful author who refuses to do any public appearances

Lyra: For YA authors, there's a theory that many are single without kids

margaret: I think many of the greatest writers don't connect with others.

Kate: But margaret, that means others do

Verla: As well as others who are great who do, margaret

margaret: Diagram that sentence, Verla.

Verla: I meant that, also, many great writers DO connect with others, margaret




Verla: Many writers I know make more money off their speaking engagements than they do their books. Because, let's face it...we do not get a lot of money for our books

George_Loe: :-)

lindy: If money is your goal, Verla, then speaking certainly supplements a royalty.

Verla: Money itself is NOT my only goal, lindy, but I'm certainly not adverse to making some! LOL <Laughing Out Loud>

lindy: If you like speaking (I do also) and you strive to offer your audience quality--(and I know you will) then all will win.

Verla: Right. I'm looking forward to speaking so that I can share what I've learned with others

lindy: Absolutely the BEST reason, Verla!



lindy: Would you share your writing goals publicly here?

lindy: I would like to use them to illustrate the advantages of networking

margaret: Well, Lindy, as to my sharing my writing goals publicly. I guess I could. However, I would feel more comfortable if everyone else did the same.

margaret: However, if I had to sum my writing goals up in a few words, I would probably quote old Polonius and say, "To thine own self be true. Then it must follow as the day the night, thou cans't not be false to any man.

Gail: Meaning, margaret?

lindy: (also anxious for definition)

margaret: I write what is true to me and hope to connect with at least one other person.


Lyra: I just love to write, to talk, to share my books, and to have my books make others happy

Gail: My goal. To be published. I don't need the income. I am retired comfortably.

Gail: I teach. Life long.

Verla: I have big goals. High ones. I want to have lots of books published and be "big" enough to be asked to attend lots of conferences as a speaker. I love meeting people and that is the very best way I know of.

Kate: I'm a writer because that's what I am; but I also like to use my writing to inform people of things they don't know about (like autism, or hearing impairments)

Dawn: I want to see my books in a book store and meet children .

Suzy-Q: I love to see the awe in children's faces when they hear what I have written. To see a child laugh, to think, and to question what I have written is my goal..

margaret: I want someone to read what I have written and say, "Ah, yes, I know what she means.

Dawn: I already see the joy that my writing brings to my students

Kate: I write because that is the only way I know what I feel, sometimes

lindy: Me too, kate.

Gail: Good, Kate.

Gail: Me, too.

Lyra: I write for the two C's: creating and connecting

lindy: Writing makes me look inward and really identify what I *am*thinking so I can relate it in a clear fashion

Verla: I'm really hoping to find my books in libraries some day...where kids can pick them up and learn things they didn't know before. Be taken to places they've never been. I guess, it's to give back some of the joys I experienced as a child when reading books.

margaret: Thanks, all, for sharing your goals. (And I am not sucking up.)

lindy: LOL <Laughing Out Loud>

Verla: (We knew that, Margaret)





lindy: Another thing important in networking is remembering why you have two ears and one mouth.

Verla: Oh....lindy! You slapped me across the mouth with a wet trout with THAT statement!

lindy: I was NOT flinging at you, Verla.

Verla: (Sure you WERE, lindy. But that's okay. I know you couldn't help slapping me around a little. VBG)



lindy: I think in order to be successful at anything

lindy: whether networking, or becoming published, or whatever

lindy: you have to state your goals as clearly as possible and they have to be within your power.

lindy: Becoming published (unless you are a publisher or self publish) is NOT within your power

lindy: But if you write the best you can, constantly honing your skills, you will give yourself the opportunity to become published

lindy: and you make your own luck

lindy: networking


Verla: We only have two minutes left for this workshop. Anyone else have a question for lindy? Or for the group?

Kate: clap clap clap!!!

lindy: Networking is NOT a substitute, but a catalyst

Dawn: standing ovation

Verla: Oh....I like THAT, lindy!

Lyra: sitting ovation

Suzy-Q: clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap!!!!! whistle whistle!!!!!!

Verla: typing ovation!

Verla: Great workshop, lindy!

lindy: Oh! And make a business card to exhange with others!

Verla: Bookmarks, lindy. Those are MY business cards.

Kate: \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/

lindy: It's a lot easier than scrawling names all over notes.

Kate: (that's a deaf audience applauding)

lindy: Bookmarkds are great, Verla!

Lyra: I actually have a business card file because I've gathered so many over the years

Suzy-Q: LOL kate

Kate: good job, Lindy.


Verla: By the way, you may all put your hands down now. Workshop is over and open chat time has begun



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