The thing with networking is, you never know when a meeting, contact or friendship will pay off.
A few years ago, because of my membership in the Hearts Through History RWA chapter, I had the opportunity to have my first short story, A Frightful Misconception, published with Highland Press as part of the No Law Against Love anthology. At the time, I invited members of my Kitchener Public Library’s Writer’s Collective to take advantage of the opportunity with me. One person, Susan Barclay, took me up on the offer and her story was published in the anthology as well.
Susan has since gone on to develop a close relationship with a few of the Highland Press editors, and has at least one other short story in development for them. A few months ago, Susan had the opportunity to speak to an old friend who had gone on to be an editor for a well-respected Canadian publisher. He mentioned he was actively looking for a YA story, so Susan told him about another of our library critique group’s members. Doris Etienne will soon have her wonderful YA story, The Jewels of Sophia Tate, published by Dundurn Press.
In the meantime, Denise Eagan brought a bunch of Hearts Through History members together to start a Victorian era blog. While I speak for myself, this core group of women has become the most important of writing friends to me–even though I’ve never actually met any of them. And these friendships have borne fruit, since we pitched the idea of a Civil War anthology and many of us have received contracts for our short stories through The Wild Rose Press. It was fun to write, share research, and motivate each other–a real team effort.
What does any of this have to do with the Victorian Era? Well, just that networking is not something new to our century. Countless examples of business deals, social meetings leading to marriage, political advancements, and I don’t doubt writing opportunities were created back then just as they are today. They certainly didn’t use the term networking, they may not even have defined the practice at all–but the Victorians were masters of this game.