Networked my way to a new writing assignment

Just found out that I've been given a writing assignment by Novel & Short Stories Writer's Market by Writer's Digest Books.  This is a yearly book that contains all the listings and advice for any writers interested in novel or short story writing.  It's a huge book, around 1,000 pages, and contains articles about the writing process.  I'll be writing an article on networking for the 2007 edition.

How I landed this article is a great example of networking.  To wit:

  1. Katharine Sands, a NY literary agent spoke to our area writer's group last year at our annual meeting.  I wrote a thank-you note to her for her talk and inquired about using her as a source for an article I wanted to write on Establishing Author Platforms - a speciality area of Katharine's.
  2. Katharine called me when she got my note and was very agreeable to being a source for me.  She also offered to put in touch for the article with other top literary agents.
  3. I sent out queries to writer's magazines. All were rejected except for the Novel & Short Story book.  The editor there asked that I follow up in 6 months time for review.
  4. I followed up last week. The editor said the topic wouldn't work, but the editor of Writer's Digest magazine recommended me and she'd like to try and use me for a story. (Was I floating on air after that one? You betcha. I've sent 5 queries in the past year to WD, all rejected.  But apparently it pays to keep trying and keep your name out there)
  5. I offered a query on networking, which the editor accepted.
  6. Now I'll go back to Katharine to use her as a source and also follow-up with the other agents for sources for the article.

All of this from one little thank you note. Never underestimate it's power--I teach that in my networking workshops.

The really cool thing is that if I get my act together enough to send out my public speaking book proposal soon, having the exposure of appearing in Novel & Short Stories Writer's Market is a big marketing plus. Would be great if I had a public speaking book ready to advertise in my by-line.

The yin-yang time frame of the literary world is amazing.  For the most part, it's on big waiting room where you wait 6 months to hear if your query idea is accepted or 2 years to publish your book.  But I feel like I've crossed a warp-zone timeline and now I must fly to get things ready.  The book proposal must go out NOW to take advantage of the byline, which means the book writing must occur RIGHT NOW.

I actually  love it.  I get really bored doing the same thing every day and the writer's life offers a great chance to do something unique each day.