Networking Noob

I ran into an old friend from high school a couple of weeks ago.  His wife just got her first book published, and going to her release event was both reassuring and disheartening.  It was disheartening because I wanted to be published by now, and I know I haven’t put in all the work that I should have to meet that goal.   It was reassuring, however, to know that hey, people I know are getting published.  People I know are actually able to follow this crazy dream.  Why can’t I do the same?

I think the thing that stands most in my way at this point is not knowing the right people.  I don’t know any agents, I don’t know anyone famous who has read my work, and I certainly don’t know any editors, publishers, or marketing experts.   I’m a fairly naturally antisocial person, so getting out of my comfort zone socially is really difficult to do.  But as the old adage goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who.”    I’ve got good material… but it hasn’t gotten to the right person yet.

I guess I’m asking for help.  I don’t know if anyone who has the right advice reads my blog, but I imagine that all sorts of business networking and the like have principles that might be relevant to what I need.  I need to learn how to schmooze, socialize, and network without fear.  I need to learn how to recognize the right people, and then, how to impress them.

Does anyone have any advice on this?

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