>Contacts pay off againPosted: June 9, 2009
>Last week I received an e-mail from a local newspaper publisher. He said he had an exciting new project for which his editor had recommended me. Now, I worked on staff with that editor 10 years ago, but we have been in touch off and on through the years. I asked the publisher what the project was. When he said he was putting out a new in-flight magazine for the airline that just started serving our city, I made an appointment to meet with him the next day. I get to write as many stories as I can stand for SeaPort magazine and help recruit other writers in SeaPort destinations. the pay is decent, and I can use up some of those story ideas that have been piling up in my office for years.
When I got home, I contacted a friend who lives near Seattle, another SeaPort destination. That was Friday. On Sunday, she sent me drafts of her query, which I helped her polish, and on Monday she had the assignment, with another one for the next issue. Now I only know this friend, Candace, online. We have never actually met. But we have been corresponding often. In fact, at least once a week, she has written to ask how things are going with my husband. She also asks for career advice and lets me know about her latest publications, but it’s the personal touch that has stuck with me. I see her name in my e-mail and think, oh, there’s a friend who cares. So, as soon as I heard about SeaPort, I thought, now where exactly does Candace live? Hey, perfect.
I don’t like the word networking. It sounds phony. Think about it as making friends. God knows writing is a lonely business, but the Internet can make it a lot less lonely. If you read a blog you like (not necessarily mine), comment. If you meet someone you enjoy spending time with, whether at a conference or at the dentist’s office, get their contact information and stay in touch. Some of the best things that have happened in my career have happened because I had a friend in the right place.
Oh, and if you happen to live in or near Seattle, Washington, or Portland, Pendleton, Astoria or Newport, Oregon, send queries to Jeremy Burke at email@example.com. Think visitors’ guide. He’s looking primarily for magazine-style pre-stories about upcoming events and things to do in those areas. Tell him you read it on my blog.