Anyone who has ever tried to sell anything will tell you how important it is to “network.” I put this in quotes because, as far as I can tell, it’s just a fancy term for talking to people. You let people know what it is you do, and then remind them at every opportunity. As a writer, I recognize that this is an important way to get people to read my stuff. I also recognize that I’m rubbish at it. I’m all, Hey, I have this blog that you could check out if you like, but it’s probably not your kind of thing so never mind… Awkward!
People will also tell you that you have to find your niche. Another fancy word that just means you must be selling something that somebody wants. Maybe this is why I’m so bad at networking. Why would someone want a short, hopefully funny story about people they don’t know? It’s sort of presumptuous of me to assume anyone needs this. That I’m somehow in demand.
But I try to network. I do. If I’m out and someone politely asks me what I do, I lift my chin, meet their eyes, and force myself to say, I’m a writer. In fact, I’m writing for this new website. Here’s the URL if you’d like to check it out.
Look at me, all assertive and stuff.
I did this a few weeks ago. I was speaking with an old friend I rarely see, Alec. I told him about my blog, and he seemed vaguely interested. So I sent him the URL. And a few days later I got an email back from him.
Hurray! If he’s emailing me, it must mean he loved it! The email was bound to contain accolades. Phrases like you’re so funny, you made me snort tea, and I forwarded it to EVERYONE. The ENTIRE internet!
I was wrong. It contained nothing of the sort.
Hey Sarah, was it your sister that was working at a facility that breeds mice? I am in the market for some mice (a minimum of about 1200 mice per month)…
I’m not sure what was weirder:
a) That I’ve suddenly become a person that knows people in the “mice business.” I’m apparently that girl you call when you need mice.
~Dude, got any mice? I NEED MICE!
~Relax, man, I know a chick who knows a chick who can get you all the mice you need.
b) That Alec needs over one thousand mice a month. Why on earth do you…? No, wait. I don’t want to know. I think it’s better for our friendship if you keep this one a secret. Here’s my sister’s email address. Let us never speak of this again.
Now the question is, am I in the wrong business? If I change my niche from “writer” to “mouser”, will I have more success? There seems to be a pretty big market that’s wide open…
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Happy Lunar Year Of The Mouse © be_khe @ Flickr. Some Rights Reserved