Quick Query Tip: Work Your Contacts

Picture 1Writers tend to meet with, connect and befriend other writers. We build social networks and professional contacts that are both supportive and invaluable. These same contacts can be used to help get your foot in the door with editors and publications.

Now before you hustle off to pitch a magazine using the name of a Twitter friend who has also written for them,  you should know there is a fair amount of courtesy and responsibility that comes with using someone’s name to further your career.

The first thing you have to do is ask the person – seems obvious, but many people ignore this simple common courtesy.

Remember, before you ask permission, be sure you two actually have a relationship. Have you ever recommended a friend or family member for a job only for them to turn out to be a less than stellar or, at times, adequate worker? The same thing happens in writing.

An established writer can count on a couple of things: requests for hook-ups and advice. Advice is free to give as long as a person has time, but a hook-up costs. Many established writers are reluctant to allow their good name, one they’ve worked years to build, to be muddied with an editor because a writer-friend turned out to be a chronic deadline blower.

Part II of Work Your Contacts will discuss when and how to ask a friend for help and how to use their name to attract the attention of an editor.


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