Written by Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes

Understanding the Importance of Networking

Building a network as an editing professional may seem daunting, especially for freelancers, but there are practical ways to achieve it. By taking small steps we can create a network tailored to our goals, communication style, and daily routine.

A solid professional network is essential for editors who want to succeed in today’s competitive business environment. Effective networking provides new opportunities and enables knowledge sharing, collaboration, and career development. Benefits can include gaining new clients and projects, staying current with industry trends, and advancing one’s career. Networking can also create a supportive community, increase credibility, and lead to referrals within the editing industry.

Do Editors Need to Network Online?

As a freelance editor, I believed social media was the best way to find work. However, I realized that virtual networking was great yet lacked the hands-on approach I sought. Instead, I also focus on building connections in person. By meeting people face-to-face, I grew my career from a side job to a full-time profession through personal connections and referrals. When approaching someone about their potential project, I ask, “Ever thought about writing a book about that?” This question has often led to fruitful conversations and opportunities.

Our Game Plan

 To build an effective networking strategy for our editing careers, we should:

  • Define our goals.
  • Find our target audience.
  • Create a pitch for potential customers. (Make sure to write it down and practice it.)
  • Approach networking authentically. (Demonstrate concern for individuals and the projects that hold significance for them. Refrain from pursuing every project as it may not align with our specialty or the author’s objectives.)
  • Join organizations in the publishing industry.
  • Attend conferences, book expos, and book signings. (Go where people and books connect).
  • Consider teaching at conferences. (Showcase your area of expertise).
  • Use digital platforms to explore networking opportunities further.
  • Follow up and nurture relationships with mentors and peers for professional support.

Strengthening Our Professionalism

One way to strengthen professional relationships is by practicing reciprocity, which involves actively offering assistance and resources to others in our network. Another way to leverage networking opportunities is by exploring collaboration possibilities such as co-authoring articles, organizing industry events, or partnering on projects. We can also utilize our networking connections to gain insights into potential job opportunities, freelance assignments, or industry trends. Finally, continuous learning can be accomplished through attending industry-specific webinars, workshops, or panel discussions.

Networking is a valuable tool to help us advance our careers. By actively participating in networking opportunities, we can broaden our professional connections, access new opportunities, and stay current in a constantly changing industry. Building authentic relationships, demonstrating expertise, and nurturing a supportive network can benefit individual editors and contribute to the editing community’s growth and progress.

For those who have a secret book inside of them and are unsure how to write it and get it published, we may be more helpful than we realize. We have the potential to be the missing piece an aspiring author has been searching for. By embracing networking opportunities, one can unlock countless doors to progress and growth for ourselves and others.

Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes, EdD, is a writer/content editor. She works for Iron Stream Media as a book coach/editor. She’s a sensitivity reader for Sensitivity Between the Lines and an editor/contributor for Inkspirations. She is the board’s vice chair for the 540 Writers community. Her writing has been published in Guideposts.