The Value of Personal Networking

A few years ago, my friends, David Nickle and Madeline Ashby told me that if I was serious about getting back into writing, then in addition to establishing a strong social media presence, I need to be visible at events. Toronto is a great place to do that – with many literary events happening every month.

My work schedule (Tuesday through Saturday afternoons and evenings), made that goal impossible for years, but having recently moved to a daytime schedule, I am now endeavoring to get out more.

One of the first events I was able to attend was a re-launch of Amazing Stories Magazine at the Merrill Collection. It was nice to see friends I haven’t encountered in a year or more. And it was great to celebrate the rebirth of a publication that was a big deal to me as a young writer. But, as a networking opportunity, I suppose I was just out of practice.

Then this week, I went to a book launch. Michael Kelly of Undertow Publications – one of the most respected publishers of weird fiction in the world – was releasing Simon Strantzas’ new collection Nothing is Everything. I do not know Simon Strantzas, although I have encountered his work in a number of publications. He’s among a younger generation of horror writers – whose career has long eclipsed mine.

I have been quietly moving away from the weird horror genre, so despite having the opportunity to chat with the publisher, I will probably not be sending him submissions anytime soon. Nevertheless, he is a delightful man who publishes amazing books, so it’s always good spending time at events he’s hosting. 

While I was there, I ran into some old friends in Peter Halasz and Bob Knowlton, and was introduced to mystery writer, Peter McGarvey – who has carved out a significant career over the past few years with his self-published titles like Dark Sunset, Foggy Sunset and Bloody Sunset.

Mr. McGarvey was interesting and inspiring to talk with and had some great promotional tips for self-published authors along with some fun anecdotes about his own experiences and beginning his own literary journey with the help of well-known SF Author Robert J. Sawyer.

And I must admit that a pint or two of good beer lubricates that journey back into the networking groove.  Online friends and social media are great, but networking provides a personal connection that is hard to beat. And there’s no better place to meet publishers and agent than at convention, book launches and other social events.


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