This Industry Is About Relationships
Whether you’re a screenwriter or author, you’re going to need great contacts. That’s the bad news.
The good news? It’s easier than ever now, because you can make those contacts ONLINE!
Writers ask me all the time **how** to make contacts online. Unfortunately, it’s one of those ‘pieces of string’ questions. People are individuals, which means they will have individual preferences. That said, I’ve pulled together some ‘best practices’ below for you.
First up though, it’s probably easier to focus on what NOT to do. Sadly, there are still multiple ways of screwing up when you’re trying to make contacts. Here’s just a few of them …
- 5 Excruciating Ways Of Being Annoying When You Want Help
- 6 Ways To Annoy The Crap Out of People Online
- 13 Ways NOT To Ask For Writing Advice or Help
So, all those cautionary tales on board, here’s how to make great contacts online … Ready? Let’s go!
How To Make Contacts Online
1) Identify people who are doing whatever it is you want to do
Find the people who are writing the genre, style of story or for the audience you want to target.
I don’t mean those who are ‘top of the tree’ either (though it’s always worth a try). I mean the people who are ‘lower’ down the ladder, as they’re more likely to be open to talking online.
You can also identify agents, publishers, editors, producers or any other kind of creative too if you want.
Remember, the more renowned they are, the less likely they are to open a dialogue with you. This isn’t a snub, it’s just they have so many fans their timelines will flash by in the blink of an eye. Hell, they may have assistants checking their inboxes for them!
2) DON’T make your first interaction with them a request for help (or even a question)
One of the most wearying things mid-level industry pros go through is the constant barrage of people asking them for help. ONLY ever ask for help from people if you know they are open to it (like @Bang2write).
Similarly, don’t crash into threads asking questions. For one thing, if it’s the first time they’ve heard from you, they may not realise you’re ‘safe’.
This is particularly pertinent when interacting with women or marginalised creatives. We have to put up with so much harassment, abuse and trolling online, especially ‘sea lioning’. This is when someone asks supposedly ‘polite’ but persistent questions and demands for evidence in bad faith. When the person declines to answer, the ‘sea lion’ then acts aggrieved.
So, if you don’t want to get blocked? Avoid immediate requests and questions!
Also, DON’T send direct messages or private messages either. People don’t check them, or keep them just for real-life friends. Women in particular see men up in their DMs as a potential violation. Just stay clear.
All this might sound counterintuitive, but I will go into what you need to do next instead, after the jump.
3) Answer THEIR questions
Lots of professional writers have needed to get good at online marketing over the years. This means following their online platforms is a great starting point. Interacting with their polls, memes and talking points is always a great idea. Do it enough and they will start to recognise you (once or twice won’t cut it).
Similarly, sometimes industry pros will ask for advice or research questions for their own work or writing. If you can help, DO. We all have expertise and being [GENUINELY] helpful is one of the quickest ways into a person’s heart.
Moral support can work, too. But only offer moral support to someone who is upset online if you really mean it.
Also, because people love to concern troll, pledging moral support doesn’t always have the lasting effect we assume. It’s also worth remembering many people who are upset online go back and delete their threads later, or mute them. This means they may forget who offered said support later.
4) Follow & Support Their Stuff
If you want someone’s help and/or to create a relationship with them? You should support their stuff!
- Read their books
- Watch their shorts, TV shows and movies
- Follow their blog
- Keep up with their news
- Subscribe to their newsletters
This might seem obvious, because it is. However you would not believe the number of writers who want help from other creatives … without supporting their stuff ?!? Madness.
But how does that other person know we’re supporting their work? Well, we tell them.
A recommendation tweet, status or post like ‘I watched or read XXX by @____ and it’s great cuz [reason]’.
This sort of thing always hooks people and makes them notice you. It also has the added bonus they realise you’re ‘safe’.
But wait … isn’t this cheating/ toadying??
Absolutely not. You should never LIE and say you liked something when you didn’t, just because you want its creator’s help. THEN that’s cheating/toadying.
It’s a courtesy thing. People who trod the boards before us deserve our support. Otherwise, when we ask for their help but ignore how they got to where we want to go? We’re FREELOADING.
For even more details on how to create relationships with industry pros online, CLICK HERE.
Want even more online secrets?
Great news, B2W’s new online, on-demand course is ONLINE CONFIDENTIAL has launched!
In the course I share ALL my experience in utilising online spaces over the last twenty years … I’ve left no stone uncovered! Whether you’re wanting to set up a blog like B2W, a service like script reading, or just get your writing/yourself noticed as an individual writer, this course has got you covered …
- How to manage people’s first impressions about you online
- Social media DOs and DON’Ts
- How to get discovered online (and not ruin your credibility)
- Setting up newsletters and websites
- Strategies to get you on the radar of people that matter
You get video tutorials, eGuides and primers, checklists and cheat sheets galore in this course like B2W’s other offers. In addition, you also get helpful bonuses like video walkthrus showing the apps and sites that can make your social media & blogging needs a SNAP.
Even if you’re only half-serious about making a splash in the online space with your writing, I think this course is an absolute steal. Grab it while you can! CLICK HERE to enrol or click any of the pics in this article.