I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, January 7, 2011

Building Relationships--Vital to a Writer's Career

In her query policy posted on January 3rd, Rachelle Gardner stated she was closed to queries except those from authors who have previously published with a royalty-paying publisher, personal referrals, or longtime blog commenters and others she knows.

After reading her post, I realized again how important building relationships are for writers. Attending conferences, retreats, & organizations allows you to meet potential mentors, critique partners, editors, and agents face to face.

I signed with Rachelle last March after establishing a relationship with her by meeting with her two years in a row at ACFW, reading & commenting on her blog, and following her on Twitter & Facebook. She was not a nameless agent to me.

The same goes for the publishing house I’m targeting. I met with the same editor two years in a row. She remembered me from the previous year. I read the house’s guidelines & forums. I know many of the authors who write for that house, so I geared my novel toward their guidelines.

I met Susie Warren at ACFW in 2005 after reading her books for the past two years. We developed a relationship that year that developed into a friendship. Her friendship and mentorship led to my role in helping My Book Therapy expand and to my growth as a writer. Brainstorming with Susie and Rachel Hauck redefined my writing.

The Ponderers formed after bonding through the My Book Therapy retreats. I knew several of the writers through My Book Therapy and ACFW, but without those lifechanging weekends, we wouldn’t have developed the intimate friendship we now share.

I have terrific friendships, a daily prayer partner, and a priceless critique partner who blesses me daily with her willingness to listen, brainstorm, and be honest with me.

Developing relationships in the writing world isn’t to see who you can use to get published, but help you grow as a writer. You never know where that friendship could lead.

What friendships have led to writing opportunities for you?

Mini contest for today only: Leave a comment with your email for an opportunity to win a first chapter critique from me.    

Lisa Jordan


  1. Great post, Lisa and you are so right about building relationships. And like you say, not for how you can use them, but the richness they bring to your life. The relationships I've built since the Deep Thinkers retreat last February have been awesome!!! I can't imagine my life without them.

    And it's not fair that I can't enter the contest today! :)

  2. LJ, love how you chronicled the growth of what has proven to be not only wonderful open doors but meaningful solid relationships worth more than gold and non-taxable! We Ponderers have to pinch ourselves, because the last year plus has brought similar gifts to all of us.
    Plus today's contest prize is great. Thank you!

  3. Pat, you are so right about the relationships that have changed our lives. I'm so glad to have gotten to know you more and more over the past year.

  4. Writing and relationship--they are interwoven, as you've proven in this post! From a college professor who believed in me to being invited to join a critique group by Donita K. Paul (wow!) to the wonderful friendships with the Ponderers ... all of these relationships have made such a difference. Of course, if Roxanne had laughed at me when I told her I was writing fiction, I'd have quit before I even started! But she believed in me even when I didn't--and now my manuscript is ready to send out to publishers!

  5. Amen to your entire post, LJ. All so true. And not only are relationships vital to a writer's career, they're also a major perk! While I, like most of us, dream of that someday-contract and full-fledged career, I can honestly say that even if it never comes, my life is richer because of the friendships I've built!

  6. Allow me to add my voice to the chorus of affirmations. People speak of writing as a lonely vocation, but a successful writer is far from lonely. My relationships with editors, agents, and other writers are a source of encouragement, ideas, and opportunities!

  7. Wow, Lisa! What a terrific post. And so true! I'm so grateful for the relationships I've grown since becoming a writer! Awesome!

  8. I'll be honest, this has been a tough one for me. I've floated in and out of critiquing relationships and struggle with finding time to give back to other writers. Someday's I hardly have time for myself. That being said, I make writing a high priority and for me it's part of what makes my life exciting. I'm so grateful for all the great people I've met on this journey!

  9. I have met so many wonderful writers online through this relationship building process. One writer and I met twice out in WA and she is putting on a conference where she asked me to speak! My first time! All because we bonded on blogs. talker445 at yahoo dot com

  10. Lisa, I couldn't comment on Friday, but I so appreciate your post. It is encouraging to a new writer like me to see the relational aspect of writing. I've already learned so much from those who are further along in the journey than I am, and I love seeing the different gifts God has given new writing friends (i.e. brainstorming, editing, wordsmithing, etc). I am thankful the for the ways God is drawing me closer to Him through writing friends, and for the friendships that are developing. Thanks for your post!

  11. Indeed that was very important for the writers career. Building a relationship to your reader is a must and that is your first goal than writing much stuff with out looking the concerns and the emotions of the reader.