Friday, May 08, 2009

Yikes! Another Early Morning

Where have I been for more than two months, you may ask? Clearly not keeping up with my blogging, that's for sure.

Well, I've been having to choose where to spend the same hours as you have each day and night, and recently my choice has been on client work and my own creative endeavors. For details on some of those, you could sign up for my monthly newsletter (hint, hint), KeyNotes, where I write each month about what's happening with the publishing business and the new books that are coming out. The April issue, especially, talks about the newest project that has clawed its way to the top of the priority list.

One other thing I've been doing is networking...a lot of it. At the beginning of April I went to one of those early morning networking events that I dread, but that I am usually glad I attended. Around here they are organized by the local chambers of commerce and draw 100+ people each time.

Have you ever been to one? It's a bit like speed dating. You start with breakfast at a table with 6 or 8 people, and as you eat you introduce yourself and your business, pass your cards around, and try to wake up enough to be coherent. After about half an hour the real fun begins. You move to a new table where each person has 90 seconds to do their elevator speech and pass their cards out. When everyone has had a go, you change tables and do it all again. Whew!

For a non-morning person this is not easy, especially since these shindigs generally start no later than 7:30 in the morning and usually require some travel time, too. But still I go a few times a year, as I did last month. With a stroke of good luck, I sat at a table for the breakfast part with a man who is a business coach and motivational speaker. I didn't realize it at the time, but when I talked about how people are publishing books as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition, he thought that was an intersting idea. I carry along a couple of books for visual aids (always a good idea in networking) - including Margaret Rome's Real Estate the Rome Way, of course.

A few days later John called and we met for coffee and conversation. Turns out he has been planning to write a series of short books, each focused on a success strategy - a perfect project for self-publishing. He's also a member of the Annapolis Motivational Speakers, a group of people in different professions but all with a motiviational speaking component. They invited me to come talk with them about publishing, so earlier this week I took myself, my laptop, and a collection of books to Annapolis for one of the most delightful events I've been to in a long time.

This amazing group has only been together for a short time, but they have created a network within their membership of friendship and encouragement. I've never felt so at ease with people I've just met, and the atmosphere was so warm and welcoming that I had nary a butterfly. They were an attentive, interactive, and appreciative audience. What more could you want? (If you are a motivational speaker in the Baltimore/Annapolis area, you should consider joining the group.)

Networking is a fact of life for all of us whether our business is real estate, retail, restaurants, or publishing. It isn't always convenient, but it is always necessary. And as in this case, you never know where a good lead will come from. Besides, you might just find a delightful group of people whom you would never have met otherwise!