C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Authors! Part II: Top Ten Lessons from the Networking Master

(If you missed it this morning, Part I is immediately below this post.)

I’ve seen my friend the master networker in action for a long time. Peter’s helpful to everyone he meets. I’ve rarely visited him when he didn’t have a bunch of out-of-country house guests he was sheltering. (He’s helped me out with shelter many times, in fact.)  Peter grew up in rural New Brunswick, but on his first day in Toronto he walked down Yonge Street and met 11 people he knew by name. Not surprisingly, they all knew him, too. People are always happy to see Peter.  

It’s not all that complicated…and yet, most of us aren’t like Peter. Why is that? We could be, you know. Let me break it down for you. Try to do the following things for one month. See how many more friends you make and how much richer your life can be. Yes, I’m working on it, too. 

Here are the Top 10 elements that make Peter the master networker:

1. Be interested. He really wants to know what you’re about. No fake or canned questions. 

2. Be friendly. He’s fast with a smile and he loves a good joke (hearing them and making them.) 

3. Be interesting. Peter is interesting because he’s an extrovert who has a huge comfort zone.(Oh, yeah, there’s the thing I lack. Introversion is one way I get in my own way.) 

4. Be open to opportunities. Peter decided he wanted to learn Portuguese in middle age, so he did. He didn’t think about how hard it would be. He doesn’t get in his own way so now he can speak casually in Portuguese with the Brazilian ambassador to Canada and now owns several businesses in  Brazil with his partner (who, by the way, has all these same qualities and I love him, too.) Peter has a lot of experience with people because he makes himself available and gives of himself. Notice I said I would have simply thanked Sue for the bookmark and moved on? I’m comfortable writing and emailing. He’s just as relaxed face to face. I have to work on that. (When I was a reporter, talking to people killed me. Later, as a book sales rep and publicist, I got better at it, but I still procrastinated sometimes. Still do, occasionally.) 

5. Focus. When you’re talking, Peter’s paying attention. 

6. Be engaged. He’s not waiting for the second you shut up so he can jump in and say what he wants to say. 

7. Talk about them, not you. Sue didn’t find out where we were coming up with publishing industry knowledge until she asked us directly. We told her, but not before she cared to know. 

8. Be nice. That’s not hard, is it? Well…if you don’t have that already, I don’t think it works to fake it. The only thing I’ve learned from watching several seasons of Survivor is, if you’re a jerk, you can’t fake being nice for anywhere near a month and not even for $1,000,000. If you, now, reading this, aren’t sure you’re a jerk, ask yourself this question: Is everyone you meet a jerk, idiot or moron? If you answered yes, I’m sorry to tell you, it’s you. Find out why you’re a jerk. Work on yourself. Try talk therapy and/or antidepressants. 

9. Relax. Peter can go to a party and if he doesn’t already know everyone there when he arrives, he will when he leaves. I’m shy and uncomfortable socializing with a group of strangers. For Peter,that’s how he has fun. When I relax and come out of my shell, I notice I have fun, too. 

10. Make people feel great about themselves. He doesn’t lie. He finds the best in people and, oddly enough, that tends to draw out the best in people. 


11. He never thinks of it as “networking.” I think Pete would just call it “living.” He lives so large


Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, , , ,

Authors: Networking Lessons from the Master (not me!) PART I

Cover of "Get Known Before The Book Deal:...

Cover via Amazon


By master, I’m not referring to me. I’m referring to my friend Peter. We are each other’s oldest friends and he’s a master of human relations. I have lots to learn from him. I’ll get to that in very straight forward terms (i.e. the ever-popular Top Ten List in Part II coming this afternoon), but first, a concrete example:   

I attended Word on the Street with Peter in Toronto. I got Peter his first job in publishing and he was fabulously successful at it. He’s now a shipping magnate, but he still has a keen interest in books (reading and writing them.) After we met up at the book fair, we’d made it about twelve feet through the crowd before an author offered him a bookmark to advertise her book. If it were just me, I would have smiled, thanked her and moved on. That’s why I’m not the master networker. Peter is, so he asked what her book is about. The author, Sue Kenney, wrote of about her pilgrimage on Spain’s Camino. Sue was very nice and her book sounds interesting. Peter had travelled the Camino so he was especially enthused. (Peter’s a world traveller, too, so he’s been everywhere and sometimes it seems like he’s done everything. Somehow, he never makes you feel bad about that. Ever watch The Amazing Race? That’s Peter’s life without the humiliating mini-games along the way.)   

Peter asked Sue a couple probing questions and it sounded like she was well on her way with her book (and two others.) Most important, she already had a movie deal, she’d already sold a lot of books on her own and she had a spirit of adventure and a great personality. What she needed was an agent and a publisher to break out. In a few minutes I’d suggested a couple of ways to search for the right agent and Peter threw out a couple of names of Toronto agents he knew. We then went on to discuss a publisher to avoid and a big publisher to approach. After a few more minutes of discussing some fine points of sales, Sue said, “Thanks! But…who are you guys?”   

“Just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Here’s a card, read my writing and publishing blog…” (Okay, I didn’t say the first part.) Sue’s going to be a success. She already has all the elements she needs in place and her publisher and agent will love her. As is required more than ever these days, she’s already done the heavy lifting for them. All she has to do now is concentrate on getting to be a known entity. (I also pushed her to get Christina Katz’s book Get Known Before the Book Deal to that end. Yes, I confess I’ve flogged that book already on this blog several times. Why haven’t you gone and bought it yet, hm?) Besides writing My Camino, Sue is already a speaker and filmmaker. She’s on her way. Come to think of it, one more thing about Sue and her book…   

My Official Sue Kenney Plug: Her book is My Camino.

Agents! What’s not to love? Snap her up while she’s still available!

Go to www.suekenney.ca


THIS AFTERNOON: Part II and the ever-popular Top 10 LIST!

Filed under: agents, Books, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, , , ,

The Best Business Card Tip of the Day

The best business card tip I received this weekend came from my newest Twitter friend @bonmotgirl.

 I had ordered my business card and the promo card for my novel separately at different times (due to a lack of foresight on my part.) Next time I’ll do as Pam suggested:

Get a folding card, one half business contact info, half promo card. Lesson learned. Thanks for the idea Pam!

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, publishing, , , ,

How Not to Network with Business Cards

The publishing conference was great. Sometimes people serve as excellent models. The people who aren’t great models can teach you something, too. When you’re networking, it shouldn’t look like that’s all you are there for. In fact, that won’t work. You’ll just come across as pushy.

One attendee made sure everyone had her business card, but she was wasting her time selling before even trying to connect. I prefer that people ask me for my card and not the other way around. It’s not always inappropriate to offer a card, but if you have no idea how you could help someone through your work, pushing them on people can do more harm than good.

Yes, business cards are still useful. A well-designed electronic business card attached to your email looks great! (www.vistaprint.com)

Sell yourself first. Your product or service always comes second.

I gave out very few cards this weekend, but each person was a quality contact I made an honest connection to.

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, writing tips, , , ,

I’m All @Twitter @ Connection

I’m following 92 people at the moment. Some highlights:

@funnyordie (obvious reasons)

@KMWeiland (good stuff on writing)

@5rivers (ditto plus indie pub stuff)

@mental-floss (for the weird facts)

@pattonoswalt (hilarious comic with a fine eye for the absurd)

@Noni_Writes (great quotes from writers etc.,…)

@pennjillette (because he’s Penn Jillette)

@PikeCraig (could be funny professionally)

@RandyTayler (ditto)

@ThatKevinSmith (because he’s Kevin Smith and is funny professionally)


I follow many others, but some don’t tweet enough and a couple tweet too often. I enjoy certain celebrities (like Bill Maher who’s too busy to Tweet much, I guess) but it’s also interesting to see who is following whom. I catch the latest news on Twitter, so that’s useful, too. 

To access Twitter from my IPod, I use Twitterific. The interface is easier to bounce around so I can see who has mentioned me, retweet and mark entries I want to return to easily. I’ve set up my Twitter account so posts go to this blog as well. That way, there is always something new on my website and more reasons for visitors to come by more often. The official blog posts are more important, but my Twitter updates through the day add a lot of changing content to this blog, so double plus good. 

BONUS About Connection:

Celebrities are cool and all, but it’s the nearby tweetaholics who have more relevance to me and my business in the long-term. Twitter is entertainment first, but it’s useful to know who is doing what in your area. I’ve already run into a couple of people through Twitter who I’d want to talk to if I had a tech problem. As the social interaction grows connections, I hope they’ll be more aware of me and what I do so I can be useful to them in the future as well.  

Twitter is fun. It’s also potentially a fun business tool (besides setting your phone to vibrate and tucking it in your underwear.) The key here, as with all networking, is to reach out as the helpful spirit moves you. Be fun, be funny, be you (as long as you isn’t as asshole.) If, in your networking efforts you come across as a greedy selfish clod who’s only out for him or herself, forget it. You’re putting bad energy out there. But if people interest you, that will come across as a positive thing that can pay dividends downstream.

Now go sign up for @pattonoswalt tweets and laugh.

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

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