Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Armchair BEA: Networking in Real Life Do's and Don't's

Today in Armchair BEA we're talking about networking offline- working with bookstores, attending author readings and meeting-and-greeting with publishers and other book professionals. I've had lots of opportunities to do different things over the years and wanted to share some thoughts about how to proceed.
  • Do act with humility and gratitude. Bloggers are enthusiastic amateurs; show respect to people who do this for a living and have been doing it for years. 
  • Do keep it classy. I've seen a lot of tweets and chatter in the last few days about how much some people plan to drink at BEA, or how many galleys they're going to scoop, etc. Don't be that person who gives someone a reason to lose respect for bloggers.
  • Do be enthusiastic about the books and authors and publishers you love. Sincere appreciation makes a great impression!
  • Don't put your ARCs on eBay. Ever. Donate them to the library if/when you no longer want them.
  • Do approach the publishers you like to express interest in the books. But don't make it all about you. Do let them know how you can help them spread the word about their great books.
  • Do shop indie. Independent bookstores are your local link to the larger book world. Get to know them, support them, take advantage of what they have to offer.
  • Do attend local author events. It's so incredibly fun to meet writers in real life! And do introduce yourself as a blogger when you have a chance to chat. Do buy books at events when you can.
  • Do see if there's a way to work with your local indie, maybe offering picks or helping out with something in-store. But again, don't make it all about you. Remember that you're new on the scene and they need to get to know you so do let them know what you can and will do to help them. Then do follow through on your commitments! Don't walk in demanding ARCs or other perks. Do respect their staff and business. Do be prepared that they might not need you. (Same goes for libraries.)
  • Do get involved in advocacy opportunities like World Book Night or Banned Book Week. Help spread the word to your community about reading!
Visit Armchair BEA Central for more stories and advice about networking in the real world!