Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Armchair BEA: Networking in Real Life

Today's Armchair BEA post prompt is

Today is the day that we discuss networking. Many of us bloggers network online. After all, Armchair BEA is all about networking online, particularly with other bloggers. However, how can you get more involved offline and in real life? Have you ever wondered how some bloggers have established those connections with local bookstores or libraries or even beyond?

For Day 3, we want you to share your positive experiences of using your blog to get involved in your community. This can involve partnerships with the local literary scene, attending author events and signings, or getting together with bloggers in your area. We want to hear it all!
When it comes to networking in real life, there is really only one way to do it and that is to be involved! I am lucky in that I live in a city with a pretty good literary tradition. There are lots of bookish events on and I do my best to go to at least some of them.

I choose to try and be very supportive of my local bookstore who does an amazing job of bringing different authors to the local area. For example, coming up in July, the bookstore is combining with out local library service to bring Jodi Picoult and her daughter who have written a book together to the local community centre that is five minutes up the road. Now, I am may not have previously been fussed about the sound of the book, but I will be doing my best to go in order to support the bookstore owner so that she can continue to get big name guests in. I mean, in terms of best sellers, Jodi Picoult is a big name and she is going to basically drive past the end of my road in order to get to the event! I also tend to buy books at those events, sometimes despite the fact that before seeing the authors I may not have even thought of buying the book because the bookstore needs to sell in order to remain a viable business. If you are in Melbourne and might be interested in attending the Jodi Picoult event then check out the details here.

Other ways I have gotten involved include participating in a romance book club that is run in one of the big bookstores in town. This has helped to get to know the events coordinator and whilst there has been limited physical benefit, I know that she knows who I am and I know that my name was mentioned in relation to a non romance related event. I have also been to author events at that store.

Another fantastic way to meet people is conventions. I have been lucky enough to go to two Australian Romance Readers Conventions where I had a fabulous time and got to meet some amazing people. This weekend I am going to Continuum which is the Victorian speculative fiction convention and this year it also doubles as the Australian convention.

Keep an eye out for local festivals. Even if it is just a small local festival you may get to meet local authors and who knows where that could lead you in the future!

Now, I am okay in a social situation, but I do get nervous beforehand, but an important thing to remember is that you already have a shared interest with many of the people that you meet in this situations! Some of the hard work of meeting new people is already done!

I would hate for it to sound as though I have this thing down though. There are lots more networking opportunities that I would love to be developing - better connections with local publishers (I just don't seem to be able to get good connections here despite having good relationships with overseas publishers), better connections with some of the festivals etc that are held here, so there is still plenty for me to be working on when it comes to networking!

For many people, there may not be local events to participate in like this, but if there are take the opportunities as you will meet like minded readers and get to meet some great people. I was lucky enough to meet other bloggers who live in my area who have now become my real life friends!

And for those who don't have these same types of opportunities, then talk advantage of online events like Armchair BEA, of social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads and build your online networks. You never know... one day one of those people might be in your area and you will be able to meet up!


  1. Glad you are supportive of your local bookstore. I am as well.

    1. I could be more supportive to be honest, but the owner is doing a fantastic job of trying to put on events so I would like to see that continue.

  2. Getting involved in a book club sounds like fun! Although I do get worried about trying to keep up.

    If you have the time, I’d love to hear from you at my armchair BEA post.

    1. Melanie, one book a month is relatively easy to keep up with. I actually am in an online bookclub as well.

  3. Great active literary lifestyle!

    1. Fredamans, I am lucky to live in a city where there is a lot that happens!

  4. Wonderful post. I agree there is always a way to get involved.

  5. You are very lucky to have such a great little bookstore close to you.

  6. I've bought books before that I wouldn't necessarily have considered prior to an event. In one case, however, a book bought that way turned out to be absolutely fantastic and I found myself wanting to really promote it. Yes, you definitely do have to check for local festivals, because so often you'll think there aren't any and then find that actually there are more for books than any other, it's just that the word hasn't reached very far.

    Something I struggle with sometimes is communicating how much I liked a book. The stereotype of the fangirl is so strong that it can be hard to convince yourself that it is possible to love a book without being obsessed with it, and that you aren't being a fangirl.

  7. It's great that you're so involved with your local indie. I hope I can get more involved with the bookstores in my area.



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