Great Networking Success Stories
by Jackie Hosking
Who was it said, 'Nothing succeeds like success.'?
A quick click of the mouse reveals that it was Alexandre Dumas. He
also said, 'Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in
order to conquer it.' Wasn't he a clever man? If you'd like to read more quotes by Mr Dumas just
…now where was I? Oh yes -- success. I went to Sherryl Clark's third children's writers' forum some time
back, and was very much impressed by Literary Agent, Jacinta di Mase. She had so many stories of how
networking had led to successful career relationships that I was once again reminded as to why I enjoy writing on
Can you think of a time when you were in the right place at the right time? Some people call it
fate, some synchronicity, or serendipity (I love that word) while others call it plain dumb luck. My theory is that
you make your own luck in the life and the more situations you put yourself into, the more likely you are to have
something magical happen. Great networking stories, this is the subject of my article this month.
We all love reading success stories. It gives us hope. I've got a great networking success story, I won't go into
it now as many of you would have read about it already, but if haven't you can read it here…
So let's get to it. Here are some success stories from real, live authors. Sit back,
enjoy and be inspired. Thanks for sharing guys.
While researching my adult/teen thriller Project Apocalypse (Launch date: January 2006) I needed to know about
black smokers (volcanic vents on the ocean floor) in an isolated area north of Australia where our continental
plate is subducting underneath the Asian-Indonesian plates. I could find plenty of information about white smokers
in the area (different structure and colour of emissions due to the nutrients and chemical makeup in the sea
floor), but nothing about black smokers, which were important for credibility of one of the plot twists. So I
contacted one of Australia's top geologists in West Australia to see if she had any further information.
Although she didn't, the questions I raised intrigued her enough that she contacted her mentor at
the Tasmanian centre for research (one of the leading international centres for planetary research), who didn't
know if they existed in the region either, but he was also intrigued enough by the possibility, that he contacted a
research team that he knew to be working near the area at the time and asked them to investigate. They did - and
confirmed that black smokers do indeed exist on the seafloor there!
So I didn't have to fictionalise my setting for that part of Project Apocalypse... I could be the first writer EVER
to describe it accurately!
I write both science fiction and non-fiction on technology subjects. Last year I entered a competition for SF
writing which was run by the European Space Agency. Aside from the business of launching satellites and building
space stations, they also have a project to encourage SF writers, in the hope of finding new and unusual
applications for space technologies. I guess they regard us as lateral thinkers.
Anyway, I didn't win, but they produce an anthology of the best and most interesting stories, and
I recently contacted the convenor of the competition to find out how the anthology was progressing. He's based in
Europe. However, on the day I emailed him, it turns out that he was visiting Australia. Victoria, to be specific.
Belmont, to be pedantic. Three blocks away from my place, if you want to enter the Twilight Zone. It so happened
that he was visiting the CSIRO division there. I work for CSIRO across town...
So. Based upon a very peculiar series of coincidences and a string of email conversations, I now have a senior
contact in the European Space Agency who is happy to assist me in writing on space related themes, and his
speciality, which is the application of space technologies on Earth.
Best of all, I received a package a few weeks back from Amsterdam, which contained copies of last years anthology
as well as a superbly illustrated coffee-table book which deals with the way various SF predictions have been
realised over the past few decades.
In 2002 I attended a summer school in Writing for Children at CalState in Fresno, California. One of my aims was to
try and get an agent while I was there, but I didn't really know how to go about it. The course leader was great,
and so were the guest writers who were talking to us and working with us. So one day I gritted my teeth and said to
the course leader, "How do you think I might go about getting an agent? Any ideas or hints?"
She immediately approached one of the guest writers and talked to her about her agent - from there came a
recommendation and an invitation from the agent to send some of my books and manuscripts. After the agent looked at
my stuff, she asked me to phone her, we talked, a week later we met, and she "took me on".
Usually I cringe at having to speak up like that, scared of sounding too pushy or rude, but I went 12,000 km to
find that networking opportunity, so I just had to do it!
My first children's book was The Wizard's Torment (HarperCollins 1995). I bent over backwards to send review copies
to all and sundry (as one does). I'd heard that Challenge magazine published kids' reviews. I found the address and
sent it to one Meredith Costain, the literary editor.
It so happened that a mutual friend knew Meredith. The publisher back then of Challenge had a marquee on Derby Day,
and Meredith had asked our mutual friend to accompany her on the day. He couldn't make it, and suggested she ask
me. Dare I admit it -- she didn't. So I conjured up a reason to call her, and (surprise! surprise!) she asked me to
Well, I needed a suit. It cost $600! But I figures sure as eggs I'd get that book reviewed in Challenge!
Here I am, ten years down the track with my partner, Meredith. Great things have happened for my writing career
since having met her. We've gone on to produce a lot of successful books together.
And you know what? That damn book never was reviewed in Challenge!
I was working on a child abduction case with Channel 7 (I am a criminal consultant as well as author of true crime)
and my research led me to a book Dr Paul Wilson (Australia's #1 criminologist) was writing. Well I contacted Paul
and he liked some of my writing and asked me to come on board as his co-author on the book. We are about half way
through it currently - though it is a hard book to write considering the subject matter.
I can of course expand on this if you're interested.
Author and Criminal Consultant
River of Blood: Serial Killers and Their Victims
The Crime Web
The Crime Web Serial Killer Forum
One of the first things I did when I began writing with the view to becoming a published author
was join our local writers' centre. The next thing I did was join a writers' group for writers of children's
This writers' group for authors of children's books is called Ekidnas. Back in 1999, at an Ekidnas meeting, an
author (and lecturer at a local university) came along with a copy of a publisher's submission guidelines,
outlining a new series they were producing. The publisher had faxed the guidelines to the author/lecturer to pass
on to students and other interested parties. I took home a copy of these guidelines then submitted 30 manuscripts
to the publisher. The 30 manuscripts were short, less then 1,000 words.
A few months later I received a glorious letter from the publisher, telling me that they wanted to publish 3 of my
manuscripts. Since then, Barrie Publishing have published 9 of my titles. Unfortunately, they were sold to a larger
publisher and I haven't submitted to them of late.
I only found out about this opportunity because of networking.
While attending Ekidnas, the group made a decision to limit attendance to published authors only. I felt badly for
unpublished writers - there wasn't a group for them - so I decided to start a writers' group for unpublished
writers of children's books. This group is called Kidlits and we meet every 4 to 6 weeks.
It was through Kidlits that I met Jill. We became friends. Months later, Jill told me about an email she'd sent to
Era Publications. The Publisher had responded with the news that he was seeking particular texts. I sent an email
to him with a few manuscripts. He liked my stories and offered to publish a few. I now have over 50 titles with Era
I only found out about this opportunity because of networking.
Now back to Ekidnas - 3 of my fellow Ekidnas recommended me for a May Gibbs' Children's Literature Trust
Mentorship. It was a week long program that allowed me to meet with publishers, authors, librarians and bookstore
owners to learn about the world of children's books. During this time, my mentor asked me if he could read some of
my manuscripts. Naturally I agreed. In fact, he probably regretted asking when he saw me walk through the door with
a huge pile of papers.
After reading one of my picture book texts, my mentor asked if he could take it with him and show it to a publisher
or two. Like I was going to say no!!!!
This picture book is now being considered by Walker Books, a huge publisher of picture books and also one that
doesn't accept unsolicited manuscripts. The Managing Director loved my story and asked if she could send it to
their head office in the UK. She also asked me to submit more picture book texts.
I only gained this opportunity with Walker Books because of networking.
These are all amazing examples of networking success stories. Real magic. So
off you go. Take the plunge, dive deep and leave those floaties behind.
Till next time,
Your writing buddy
© copyright Jackie
Jackie has been writing professionally for
7 years. She writes mostly for children but does enjoy the odd flash fiction piece for adults. Jackie is the
editor/compiler/publisher of the children's writing and illustrating industry newsletter, PASS IT ON (PIO).
PIO was recently voted the best non-fiction e-zine for 2008 by the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.
Jackie also offers a rhyming manuscript editing service. You can find out more about Jackie, PIO and writing
in rhyme at her website -