Tracy Banghart

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format

This form does not yet contain any fields.
    agent news Ali Cross Alloy Entertainment allthefeelings Amazon American Idol announcement Apple Autumn Kalquist awesomeness Awkward Picture Day baby book meme bad poetry BBY BLOOD BETA ONE Beth Revis Big news Blogger love BLOOD CROWN book blitz book deal Book Recommendations BY BLOOD Carrie Ryan Ccover love ccover reveal Center Stage Christine Fonseca chunka chunka Cindy Pon Corrine Jackson cover love cover reveal critique partners Critters cupcakes Cutlass Cynthia Voigt David Pandolfe Defector deployment dystopian Finn Finnegan Flash Fiction Friday free! give giveaway Gretchen McNeil guest post Halloween IF I LIE Impostor Indie Books IRDA Italy Jennifer Walkup Jessica Spotswood JULIET IMMORTAL Jump When Ready Kody Keplinger koko LADY LOST Laurie J. Edwards Leap Year Lee Strauss Legacy Code Mae I Design MAJOR HOTSAUCE military Moon Child music networking Never Been Kissed new release new year newsletter Ollie Oxford Quiet Kids Rachel Hamm Rachel Marks RaShelle Workman Ratgirl READY. SET. WRITE! Rebel Wing Regina Wamba rejection relaunch resolutions revising Robin McKinley SCBWI scifi Scotland scrabble Second Verse secrets self-publishing SFWC SHATTERED VEIL Smash starred review Stasia Ward Kehoe Stephanie Perkins Steve Jobs Storm Warning street team surprises Susan Kaye Quinn Susanne Winnacker Tangled Promise teaser teaser tuesday thank you THE KIDS The Bookanistas the bug The Girl Guide The Indelibles The Informer THE KIDS The Other Life The Sorcery Code Third Daughter titles To Find You Travel TThe Bookanistas Vanessa Garden wedding What's Up Wednesday winners winning writing wwriting Xpresso Book Tours
    « Bookanistas Review: The Other Life | Main | My First Bookanista Review! »
    Tuesday
    Jan242012

    Making Connections & Italy

    A little less than two weeks ago, MAJOR HOTSAUCE and I returned from a semi-impromptu trip to Torino, Italy.

     View of Torino from the basilica di Superga

    We went to visit my friend Michelle, her husband, and their three-week old son (ie the cutest baby EVAR!). We had a wonderful time...we ended up staying with Michelle's parents outside of the city and driving into town each day. It was a unique experience for us in Italy (which is where we spent our honeymoon) ...rather than being tourists (or a student studying abroad - in my experience, I didn't experience much of the "real" Italy), we got an authentic Italian experience, with the music, the food, the language, the markets, the walking along the river in Turin...(in MAJOR HOTSAUCE'S case, the grappa distillery tour and visit to the salami maker with Michelle's Dad...)

    It was fantastic. Absolutely wonderful.

    It's funny to think how things work out in life. Michelle and I met in grad school, in Oxford. She's bilingual (English/Italian) and we formed a bond over a love of publishing...and our type-A personalities. :-) Every week we'd meet at a little cafe in Oxford on Cowley Road and drink coffee and eat these little, personal pizzas (the only good pizza I had the entire time I was in England) and we'd talk about school and books and traveling and the differences between the States and Europe, and, okay, boys. ;-) 

    Ah, the good old days...

    After we finished school, we went our separate ways...Michelle back to Turin, and me to D.C. But we kept in touch. And a few years later, Michelle emailed me about a job. She was working as an editor for an English-language hairstyling magazine, and they were looking for someone to write an article or two per issue. I jumped at the chance, and ended up writing articles for the magazine for two years.

    I guess you could say I got my first paid writing job as a result of networking.

    In college, people like to throw that word around. Networking. The whole "it's not what you know but who you know" thing. But I've always found that networking doesn't work as well for networking's sake. I've been to "networking" cocktail parties in DC...and they felt more like meat markets or job interviews than real opportunities to make connections. Not to mention I've never gotten a job from an experience like that, and certainly never a lasting friendship.

    But, years later, Debbie, a friend I'd made on the job while in D.C., hooked me up with her friend Mandy, also a writer, and we've been email friends and crit partners ever since...all this happening long after Debbie and I had both left DC. It just goes to show that the best networking isn't about having an agenda. Strike up a conversation with someone who shares your interests...or ask someone where they're from and what they like...you never know what kind of connections you'll make. My mom has tons of stories of meeting people on airplanes and on trips...even in restaurants. And some of the craziest things have happened as a result. (Simon Carrington of The King's Singers directing a concert for her, for one.)

    In my experience, the kind of networking that yields the highest rewards is the kind that doesn't FEEL like networking. It's just a couple of people talking about what they love, with no alterior motives or agendas.

    Michelle and I were students together, and then coworkers (well, technically she was my boss ;-)). And now we're the kind of friends who take transatlantic flights to visit one another. You never know what will come from making a connection, from starting a conversation.

    In the publishing industry, people like to tell you it's not who you know, that it's all about writing an awesome freaking book. And that's true, for the most part. If your manuscript isn't ready, it doesn't matter how many connections you have to agents and editors or other authors. BUT...it IS a subjective business. And even if you DO write an awesome freaking book, you still need to get it into the right hands. Going to conferences, chatting with people, joining Twitter...not to network but to make friends, share your love of books or knitting or fire-breathing dragons or whatever...putting yourself out there, you're bound to make connections. Those connections might not sell your book or get you an agent, but they could. Or they might lead to you making an awesome friend, or finding a an amazing critique group, or meeting the love of your life.

    You just never know, and therein lies the fun. :-)

     

     Superga :-)

    The villa I want to buy someday, ala "Under the Tuscan Sun" ;-)

    PS. Feeling so nostalgic for grad school and all my grad school friends now. Just a warning...if you go to school overseas, chances are you'll make friends who also live overseas...and who are therefore who are very far away!! ::waves to Michelle, Heloise, Helen, and all the folks from Brookes.:: Miss you guys!

     

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (5)

    I am forever indebted to Debbie B. for thinking that her writer friends might want to connect. And we did! I love following your publishing journey and I feel like you are right there with me on mine. Friends and family can tell us they understand -- but until they've chosen the path we have, they can't really understand the highs, lows and general crazy-making a writing life entails. Glad that you and I speak the same language! I agree that connections can pop up randomly -- but we have to be awake enough to recognize someone worth connecting with -- like YOU.

    January 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

    Thanks, Mandy! I'm so glad we connected!! :-)

    January 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterTracy

    Very cool, Tracy! I think networking is the best thing a writer can do for his/her career, but you're right, it needs to be a genuine connection, not those "meat"-and-greets. I, too, got my first writing jobs through a networking connection. Thanks to one of my CPs, I've made a career of writing because that job led to many others. It's amazing to see where each writing connection leads.

    Lucky you to get to return to Italy. I threw my coin in the Trevi fountain, which I understand means you'll return someday, but I'm still waiting for my someday. :-) So glad you got yours!

    January 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

    wave back at you my dear. i sometimes feel that our time in Uni is so far away and so much has happened since but it was a truly unique, fun, exciting experience and we learned so much from it. the friendships that we started then, will, i hope, last for a very long time. and yes, an ocean in between doesn't make it easier to maintain and grow these bonds but this is why they invented the internet, right?
    xx

    February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeloise

    hi helo!! :-) you're right...yay for the internet! and lots more crazy schemes to meet up in the future. :-)

    February 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterTracy

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Post:
     
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>