Sunday, October 01, 2023

Use the Power of Introductions


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

From my years in publishing, there is an under-used tool which every writer can access. It doesnt matter whether you have published many books or never published. In this article, I'm encouraging you to use the power of introductions. 

Who do you want to meet in the publishing community? Is it an editor, a bestselling author, a literary agent, a publicist or any other role? Make a list of these individuals. Who do you know who can introduce you to this person? 

There is a parlor game called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon or Bacon's Law “where players challenge each other to arbitrarily choose an actor and then connect them to another actor via a film that both actors have appeared in together, repeating this process to try to find the shortest path that ultimately leads to prolific American actor Kevin Bacon. It rests on the assumption that anyone involved in the Hollywood film industry can be linked through their film roles to Bacon within six steps. The games name is a reference to “six degrees of separation”, a concept that posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart.” You may not have considered it but it is likely someone in your circle of friends and relationships, can easily reach whoever you want to reach. You just need to be introduced to them. 

As an editor, authors often need to be connected to someone inside the publishing house. Whatever need you have, someone can help you. The action you need to take is to ask this person who is connected for an introduction. A Bible verse in James says you have not because you ask not. It may feel uncomfortable but to get to this person, you need to ask for an introduction. 

As you use introductions, you need to understand the role of persistence in this process. From my years in publishing, persistence is a key characteristic for every successful writer. We often hear the word no or cant in the writing life. The key is to understand that particular action didnt work but the next one may work for you. 

As an example of persistence in the area of introductions, during the last few weeks Ive been trying to get introduced to a particular literary agent. Her email isnt on the agency directory or on other directories of literary agents. I know because Ive searched for it and come up empty. Instead I turned to introductions. I called a friend who lives in the same town as the agent. They had no connection. I called a literary agent friend who might have worked with this agent years earlier. Again the connection didnt work. Finally I texted a former colleague of this agent who gave me the right email address. Then I crafted an email to this editor and a few days later I received a response. 

My purpose for telling this story is so you see that reaching the right person takes persistence and finding the right connection for you. It is not a singular action but could involve multiple actions to get there.  

Do you use the power of introductions in your writing life? What techniques work for you? Let me know in the comments below.

My Articles in Other Places. 

Often in these articles, I encourage you to publish your work on other blogs and places. Heres some of my articles which have been published recently:

Escape the Catch-22 of Publishing Editors and agents are looking for people who have published to publish them some more. Yet how do new writers break into that cycle? I give the details how writers can escape this catch-22 of publishing. 

Do you have a Side Hustle? Every writer needs to diversify their income and in this article I give the details and ideas for every writer to get at least one side hustle.  

Why Publishers Prefer Proposals
 Every author needs to create a business plan and in this article I give writers the specifics why publishers prefer a proposal submission. It contains information that never appears in your manuscript but is important as they make publishing decisions. 


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