One of the most important aspects of the publishing industry is networking, and there are a lot of ways in which to do so- Facebook being one of the most popular, but Linked In, Google+ and forums hosted by publishers such as Baen Books & Tor Publishing are some other options.
I belong to several of these network groups, and I think the one that helps me the most is the MasterKoda.com group on FB- we’re a group of nearly 300 people all supporting each other and finding ways to help promote everyone’s books, marketing businesses and proofreading/editing skills. It would have taken me longer to get this lovely website & blog if it weren’t for three very special women- Kim Mutch Emerson aka MasterKoda & marketer extraordinaire, Rebbekah White, my webhost, graphic designer & markerter, and last, but definitely not least, Tasha Turner, my social media coach who worked very hard to help me set all of this up on WordPress.
I also owe a lot to my sister, Kate Johnson (see That Poe Girl on FB), who designed & drew the dragon gracing my banner & logo, then Amy Winfield for coloring it in, using all the colors I love the most. Unless you’re an artist as well as a blogger/author/proofeader, etc, and can do your *own* logo, it’s another case of networking- I knew my sister could do an awesome job drawing a dragon that fits my style because she’s been an artist ever since she first picked up a crayon. As children, we used to make greeting cards for family & friends- Kate doing the art, I did the poetry -we called ourselves the KGB Card Company for Kate & Ginni Berger; here’s a funny- we’re also part Ukrainian, allowing us to have a lot of fun. I met Amy on MasterKoda.com via FB, and she’s an awesome artist herself- doing book covers as well as writing, and totally comfortable w/working on someone else’s artwork.
Going back to MasterKoda.com, we’re a family, we help each other, and have worked on an awesome story anthology called The Gage Project where the proceeds will go towards 14yo Gage’s medical bills. And the way Inknbeans Press is going about w/how they’re handling the donations to the anthology is awesome- the contract specifies that they’re *borrowing* our stories, artwork, poetry and anything else contributed by eager volunteers. I not only have a silly poem I wrote in high school in there, but I also am one of the volunteer editors- I’m perfectly willing to donate my editing skills to a good cause, and have done so in other cases because I know I’m helping someone else who desperately *need* that help.
It’s an awesome cycle- someone helps me, I help others, and it feeds into a cycle where we all gain advantages. When you give support to friends, you gain their support back several thousand-fold. That’s why I love MasterKoda.
I’m also a member of Baen’s Bar, the forums run by Baen Books where we can kibitz with other fans, but also the authors published by Baen & the grand Publisher-in-Chief herself- Toni Weisskopf. We’re fans from all over the world, and it’s a case of taking fandom & turning it into famdom- when someone needs help, we give it, as well as advice and feedback on short stories as well as novel-sized slush, done chapter by chapter. There’s a Feelings forum, where we can share our frustrations, depression and know that there are plenty of shoulders to cry on, not to mention the Barfly Battalion, designed to help fellow ‘flies (Baen’s Bar, therefore Barflies, shortened to ‘flies) monetarily or care packages.
I’ve both been a recipient as well as a donor; when my mother had one accident too many and had to go into assisted living, my friends in the Battalion put money in my Paypal account so I could come to Boston for job interviews, groceries and emotional support. A friend from the LMB Mailing List also sent me money to pay for my first month’s rent. Then, when Jim Baen, founder of Baen Books, had a stroke & went into a coma for about a month, we mobilized and sent care packages of goodies to the Baen employees in their offices- I ended up heading the Baking Brigade for that one -we also got gift cards to restaurants near the hospital so Toni & Jim’s daughter Jessica could get away from the hospital and get something to eat. Another example of the Battalion is Operation Baen Bulk, where 3 ‘flies were stationed in the Middle East and needed their own care packages. Not only did the Battalion put together what our friends needed, but supplied their entire platoons with disposable razors, complimentary shampoo & soaps gathered from hotels, wet wipes, goodies, etc, everything that wasn’t being supplied to them in the field.
All of these are considered networking- you’re reaching out to others, helping them and, in turn, receiving help. It’s what makes my world go ’round, certainly!