Improving your research, writing, and publishing through networking

conference networkingTo many, the word networking is business-speak, a bit like strategic planning, buy-in, thinking outside the box, leverage, or core competencies.

But your network, however big or small, can be the key to improving all aspects of your academic output. It is no coincidence that this blog entry appears the week of the Textbook & Academic Authors Association Annual Conference in Philadelphia. This event, and others like it, offer the best opportunities to make connections and therefore improve your scholarly work.

When authors connect with like-minded individuals, they experience new ideas; new ways of thinking. Perhaps you can learn of new developments inside or outside your area of expertise. Or you might learn about new channels or journals for publishing. You increase your chances of finding a writing partner, or a new reviewer of your work. Connecting with people gets you out of your shell, and dare I say, comfort zone. This may sound negative, but far from it. The opportunity for growth occurs only when researchers or authors learn new concepts or bump into new ideas.

Perhaps you will meet an editor or editorial board member of a journal, or maybe an acquisitions editor for a book publisher. Maximize your time at these events by switching up where you sit and attending all the social events.

But it is it not just conferences. Listservs or discussion groups offer the same opportunity. Going to university or institutional-wide events is a key networking opportunity. Sitting on any interdisciplinary committees is another. Volunteering in your professional society can bring rich connections.

In the era of too much to do and not enough hours to do it in, these human or online connections are even more essential. When we are at a lunch with people unknown to us, it is tempting to scroll though our cellphones. Take the leap. Strike up a conversation and ask what your table partners are working on. Actually, tell them about the work or writing you are in the midst of (or contemplating). It is not always easy, but making this leap is when the magic can happen.


John BondJohn Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting. He works with individuals on publishing and writing projects. Schedule an initial complimentary phone call at Publishing Fundamentals. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. He is the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.”Contact him at jbond@riverwindsconsulting.com.