As much as we’d all like to think that brilliant book will eventually win out no matter what, sometimes–just like in any business–who you know can give you a little boost.  Here are some tips to help build your name…because it’s just as important to consider who knows you. 

1. Enter RWA chapter contests.  Editors here often serve as judges, and contests are a fast-track to getting your work right in their hands.  Some of our award-winning books and bestselling authors have been discovered through contests, including Angie Fox, Trish Albright, Susan Squires, Marjorie Liu and many others. 

2. Network with established members of the genre community.  Published authors, reviewers, reporters and anybody who has anything to do with writing can help mention your name when talking to editors.  Besides, it never hurts to have a potential cover quote in your pocket.  

3. Attend conferences and introduce yourselves to our editors.  You’ll often get a business card out of it, and then you can e-mail a follow-up.  It doesn’t guarantee they’ll buy your work, but it does give them a gentle reminder of who you are and establishes that they have a personal connection to you.

4. Create a website and use it to showcase your voice, your bio, projects you’re working on, and your contact information.  When I read a proposal I really like, one of the first things I do is google the author.  Your website tells me you’re serious about getting published and you know what information is important to present.  

5. Get involved.  Comment on blogs, volunteer to be a contest coordinator.  It’s like advertising: the more times we see a name, the more likely it is to stick in our head.  Then when we see your name on a proposal, it will sound familiar.  Even if we can’t quite place where we know the name from, it separates you from everyone we don’t know.