Dr. William Saleebey, author of Connecting: Beyond the Name Tag, is the foremost expert on the psychological dimensions of personal and business networking. He has more than 25 years experience in the networking arena, and speaks throughout the United States. Today, he offers Write On! readers advice on networking, as well a glimpse into his publishing process. Those who live in Los Angeles can meet Saleebey at his book release party on Thursday, January 21st at 7pm at Ca’Brea Restaurant. For details, go here.
Why did you write Connecting: Beyond the Name Tag?
I wrote the book after years of being a “participant observer” in networking for over 25 years. The process fascinated me. Additionally, I thought there were some major misconceptions about how successful networking works. For example, some people assume they know the potential value of people because of their profession. They prejudge others incorrectly, and write some people off because of their age, profession, or appearance. You never know. I wanted to provide assistance and tips to the many people trying to build their businesses through networking..
How did you approach writing Connecting? Getting it published?
Actually, I just began writing by topics, then expanded on each topic. The organization and development came after I had written about 75 pages. Then I expanded on the topics, added the examples, tweets, and the chapter on social media. I found an agent, who tried to sell it to publishers at the depth of the economic crisis. Publishers weren’t buying anything, so we decided to self-publish.
What was your favorite part of the process? The greatest challenge?
I really enjoyed interviewing people about the process and found some common themes to make more sense about how it really works. The greatest challenge was remaining patient when the publishing process bogged down. I kept on it, and with patience and determination, we got it done.
What are the top three things people should keep in mind when networking?
1. Give to others in any way you can without expecting anything in return.
2. Listen carefully to others in order to find common ground and ways to make meaningful connections.
3. Follow up on a consistent basis and deepen your existing relationships.
What are the biggest mistakes people make?
1. They are too self-centered and talk to much without really paying attention to what others are saying.
2. They expect referrals to come to them without making the effort to build a relationship.
3. They think networking is just collecting a lot of business cards.
4. They use social media without meeting others face-to-face.
5. They incorrectly prejudge others—you never know.
How important is public speaking as a skill for writers?
Public speaking can make or break a writer. I speak as often as I can (even for no fee) because it raises my profile, is a great way to network, and sells books. Public speaking is perhaps the best way to get your name known by the masses.
What should a writer know before delving into writing a non-fiction book?
You need to know what has already been written about a topic. Know your competition. Do extensive research on the topic. Be able to answer the question, “What is unique about your book/approach to the topic?” Have trusted advisors read early drafts to get feedback.
Additional advice for writers?
I recommend getting testimonials based on early drafts from experts in the field. Hire a detail oriented copy editor. Consider self-publishing as a viable option to finding an agent/publisher.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
I know that I underestimated the amount of time and delays in the process. I didn’t realize when I started that the timing for finding a publisher would be terrible, while the timing of the book itself (considering the state of the economy) was outstanding.