Networking and Writing Organizations

Linda O. Johnston is the author of 27 published novels, with more to come.  She currently writes the Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime, a spinoff series from her Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries, also for Berkley.   The second Pet Rescue Mystery, THE MORE THE TERRIER, will be an October release.   She additionally writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne–the Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military unit of shapeshifters. The next in the series, GUARDIAN WOLF, is an August release.

Thanks for joining us here at Writers in the Storm, Linda.  And thank you for offering your latest Pet-Sitter mystery, HOWL DEADLY , to someone who comments on your blog.  So, Writers in the Storm readers, comment and suggest away to get your name in the hat for the drawing of HOWL DEADLY.  One entry per person (though we’d love you to comment more than once!)  We’ll post the name of the lucky winner next Wednesday at the top of the blog.  Good luck–and happy reading!

This is my first blog for Writers in the Storm and hopefully it won’t be my last.  I thought that networking would be an appropriate topic, since that’s one reason I’m here.  I know some of the Writers in the Storm bloggers thanks to my own networking.

Writing is a solitary profession.  Many writers have day jobs and continue them while they write.  Others, like me, end their day jobs.  I’m a lawyer, and I used to take on a lot of part-time law projects when I stopped lawyering full time.  Now, those projects are harder to get, although I love them when I can find them.  Meantime, writing keeps me quite busy.

Which means I work alone a lot of the time.

That’s one reason I belong to so many writing organizations.  I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and attend meetings of two local chapters: the Orange County, California, chapter, and the Los Angeles Romance Authors.  I also belong to Sisters in Crime and the Mystery Writers of America, and attend meetings of their local chapters.  I’m also a member of the Thriller Writers of America.

I additionally attend writing conferences.  I recently enjoyed the Romance Writers of America National Conference at the end of June in New York City .  This year, I’ve also attended Malice Domestic, for cozy mystery fans and authors, in the Washington , D.C. , area, as well as the California Crime Writers Conference, held early in June jointly by the local Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America chapters.

At each of these events, I meet other published authors, aspiring authors, and readers–and enjoy them all!  Plus, I learn more about the market, what’s selling and what isn’t.  I learn a lot and, I hope, also help to teach others what I know about our profession.

If you’re a writer, published or not, I strongly urge you to network.  To join at least one writing organization and attend meetings.  If you don’t live in an area where it’s easy to get to meetings, most of the organizations have online chapters, and that kind of networking is fun and helpful, too.  I also recommend that you join a critique group.

When asked which of the organizations I’d recommend most, I always say it’s the Romance Writers of America if you’re a fiction writer, whether or not you write romance.  That’s because the group is great at inspiring and encouraging writers.  It helps at whatever level of your career you happen to be.

Of course, reading blogs by other writers is a form of networking, too, especially if you comment.  So, please comment on this blog!  I’ll even encourage you by holding a drawing where one commenter can win a copy of HOWL DEADLY, the eighth in my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries in which Lauren Vancouver, protagonist of my new Pet Rescue Mysteries, is introduced.

If you have any ideas for future topics you’d like to see me write about here, at Writers in the Storm, please let me know in a comment, too.  You can also visit me at my website, www.LindaOJohnston.com, or friend me on Facebook.  I also blog every Wednesday at KillerHobbies.blogspot.com.  No, I don’t tweet yet on Twitter, but maybe someday.

So, how do you network? Your experience may be the spark for someone else! Besides, it will  enter you for a chance to win her latest Pet-Sitter book, HOWL DEADLY.

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26 Responses to Networking and Writing Organizations

  1. Holly Sweany says:

    I miss OCCRWA so much, wish there was a way to have Saturdays off. I did renew my RWA membership because of the resources.
    Even though I am on FB, Twitter and several other groups, networking is my weak point. These are some great organizations and a good way to get my feet wet in networking again would be to find and join some that fit into my life. Writing is a solitary experience.
    Thanks for the informative blog!

    • Oh Holly, We miss you too! Maybe some Saturday you could call in sick….how about our OCCRWA October Birthday Bash! Celebrating 30 years with LOTS of great stuff!

    • I somehow missed seeing your post before, Holly. Sorry! In any event, I’m not sure about your work situation or where you live, but if you have Sundays available you might try dropping in at LARA (Los Angeles Romance Authors), which meets on the third Sunday of each month. It’s really a dynamic group. too.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Holly,

      We definitely miss you! I’m with Laura (WITS login comment above) – is there ANY way you can come to the Birthday Bash in October?

  2. Network? Hmm. How do I network. Oh, look! I’m doing it now. I connect with writers and blogs that entertain, inform, and share my passion for the craft. WITS is one of them, as is Jenny Hansen’s COWBELL blog. My local RWA Chapter is great, and I need to establish myself there. Having new-kid-on-the-block syndrome and I UNDERSTAND and appreciate that. Relationships were forged long before I joined, and I see those bonds as positive vibes from which I’ll one day benefit. I’m not a wallflower and I don’t give up easily so it WILL happen. In the meantime…

    I plan to join another, larger, multi-genre group near me that meets once a week. DESPERATELY searching for a local crit group in need of a newbie. (Gosh! Don’t I sound pathetic?)

    Margie Lawson (LWA) has been to MY writers’ network what Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake method was to many WIPs. Met my BEST writing/critique buddy online through one of Margie’s courses, which led to other writiers she knew, which led to…an exponential growth of talented writers. THEY, in turn, pushed me to create an online presence. My author FB and twitter account became reality last week. Blog and matching email address (MUST accessorize the brand properly) hosts a coming out party next week. NOW, I’m off to LIKE you on facebook and hope you LIKE me back. LOVE the premise and the titles of your current series. My must buy list just grew.

    • Sounds as if you really get the idea of networking, Gloria! I’m sure you’ll get well ensconced in your local RWA chapter, and I hope you find the right critique group soon. I’ve been entering into social networking a little at a time. I only have a friend page on FB so I’d be delighted to be your friend!

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Gloria! I’ve found the easiest way to get involved in a chapter is to volunteer. Most groups will snap you up like the last cookie on the plate. Seriously.

      When I started at RWA, I offered to do a column in the newsletter on techie stuff. The newsletter editor at the time said, “How about the whole newsletter?” and I was appointed editor almost before I could blink. Then I was membership director for a few years, then Program’s Director TWICE. I even coordinated the contest for a few years.

      At the end of all that, I knew how the chapter worked and who the movers and shakers were. I also knew more than 20 New York editors. It was well worth my time.

  3. Stacy Green says:

    So far my experiences have been limited to online networking. I’m stuck in Iowa, so going to a conference is always a haul. I’m not sure where the local RWA chapter is, but I’m going to look it up.

    I write suspense/romantic suspense, so I wasn’t sure if joining RWA would be a good idea, but it sounds like it would be a plus.

    • As I said, Stacy, I definitely recommend RWA. You might consider joining the Kiss of Death chapter for romantic suspense and network with its members online. The next RWA conference is in Anaheim, California–right in my backyard, but unfortunately not yours.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Stacy, there are also several online chapters you can look into. As to networking in Iowa…I’ve heard that Iowa has some fantastic writers’ groups. Have you browsed the internet and looked into it?

  4. Hi Linda!

    Like you, I belong to two RWA chapters, LARA and KOD (Stacy…look up Kiss of Death RWA). I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, and a law enforcement writer’s group. I’m a member of about 15 Yahoo groups. I’m also a member of a number FB groups and I also am on Twitter. I’m sure many people are sick of me!🙂 I usually attend at least one conference a year.

    I’m toying with the Google+ thing, but don’t know enough about it.

    I’m much better ‘online’ that I am in person. I can be very chatty online when my schedule allows. I’m very much an observer when I’m out in the world…I trace that back to my cop training. Looking for danger/wrong-doing everywhere!

    Good post!

    • Your networking is really great, Kathy! I’m always impressed by your posts on the LARA Link and FB. I admit I haven’t even looked into Google+ yet and I’ve been dragging my feet about Twitter because I hear mixed things about how useful it is.

      • Jenny Hansen says:

        OMG, Linda…I LOVE Twitter! I’ve learned more and met more people in 7 months than I did on Facebook in the last five years. It truly is amazing. I’m still up in the air on Google + myself.

  5. jamilajamison says:

    A lovely post! Like Stacy, I’ve also been pretty limited to online networking. I am planning on attending my first writers’ conference next month (the Central Coast Writers Conference), and hopefully I’ll start to meet people that way. And I hadn’t considered the RWA chapter, but I’ll have to see if there is one nearby.

    • Thanks, Jamila! Have fun at the Central Coast Writers Conference, and I hope you find a convenient RWA chapter to try.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jamila, are you in CA?? I didn’t know that! That’s exciting for me to know as I’m in SoCal and I travel up through the middle every so often. Please do let us know how you like that Writer’s conference.

      If I remember right, you do some women’s fiction, right? The RWA-WF chapter is awesome! And it’s online.🙂

  6. Barbara DeLong says:

    Hi Linda! I love your Pet Sitter series, so I must run out and get – or download – the Pet Rescue stories before I get too far behind in reading your stuff. So many books, so little time. Your time management skills are finely honed, belonging to so many orgs, writing, blogging, travelling. RWA is the only organization I find time for right now. How you manage your time would be a good topic for another blog, my friend!

  7. Thanks, Barb, both for your nice comments and for suggesting a topic!

  8. Great post and I appreciate your sharing what you’ve learned. I was told from the beginning by Christine Feehan to join RWA and I’m so happy I did. I belong to RWA/Women’s Fiction and RWA/Elements along with Kristen Lamb’s WANAMinions. They’re great groups for meeting virtual friends and fellow writers who love to support you and give advice and help whenever you need it. Thanks for the post.
    Patti

  9. Terry Wright says:

    Hi Linda and everybody… Online networking is fun. I’ve met tons of writers this way. I’m hoping to reach more readers, as well. I’m a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers where I’m in my 4th year running their Colorado Gold Writing Contest. Through RMFW I’ve made life long friendships by volunteering for various jobs and attending as many events as possible: summer picnic, workshops, holiday party, critique groups, and author signings. I also have 2 Web sites, two facebook accounts, and one Twitter, plus I’m available on Goodreads and Smashwords. So for all writers, I sugget establishing a visible Internet presence and blog hop as much as you can. Thanks for you insight, Linda… and best always…

  10. Sounds like you’ve got online networking nailed, Terry, and face-to-face, too! And, yes, blog hopping is fun–something I enjoy, too.

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