It's sort of a running joke amongst my friends that I "know everybody" in publishing. And while I definitely do NOT know EVERYBODY, it is true that between blogging and WriteOnCon and all the signings and conferences I go to, I have met and gotten to know quite a few people in the industry.
But the funny thing is, sometimes people think I have a reason for meeting so many people and taking the time to get to know them. You know that old saying: it's not who you are, it's who you know? Yeah... some people seem to think I'm on some dauntless "networking" quest to make as many connections as I can to get ahead in the industry. Which could not be further from the truth.
Here's the thing. I know there are stories of people who got their agent / book deal/ awesome blurb / whatever because they were friends with somebody who recommended them to somebody else and all the stars and planets aligned and viola! Insta mega-success!!!
It does happen. I'm not going to say it doesn't.
But... just because it happens doesn't mean that's what you need in order to reach any level of success.
That's the thing I hate about those stories. They make people start to think: that is the only way I am ever going to get published--I NEED SOMEONE TO RECOMMEND ME!!!!
When really? That's just one kinda rare, kinda flukey path to success.
Plus, even if you DO get someone to recommend you to an agent or an editor, you still won't get a book deal if you don't have a great book to sell them. It doesn't matter how much they like you (or how much they like the person recommending you). If they don't like your writing they aren't going to pay you for it.
And if you DO have an awesome book, you know what? An agent is going to want to represent it and an editor is going to want to buy it and an author is going to want to blurb it and readers are going to want to read it--because the book is awesome, and people love awesome books. Even if you don't know ANYONE.
I know that might sound oversimplified. And I know there are amazing authors and books that sometimes get overlooked. And I know rejection SUCKS, and we all wish we could find some secret fastpass to success without having to go through querying Hell and submissions Hell. And I know there are just enough stories of people who do just that by "knowing someone" to keep the dream alive. But... I really wish I could get people to understand that it's NOT all about who you know. I promise you, it's not.
Spend your time, effort, and energy worrying about making your book the best it can be, not worrying about how you can meet So-and-so or have So-and-so read your pages and have them recommend you to Important-Publishing-Person-X. You don't need to do that--not if you have a great book. And let yourself believe that your work is good enough to be published without any inside connections helping you along.
Being published really is a dream ANYONE can reach--if you're willing to put the time and effort into your craft. Don't be afraid to let your writing stand for itself.
You have all the tools you need to reach your dreams--without any "cool friends" to help you along the way. Believe that. Then don't give up while you work toward getting there.
Do that, and you WILL get there. I promise promise promise. You WILL.