I used to pooh pooh the call to network. However, I have come to the conclusion that it is critical in the writer's world. My own situation is a case in point.
I wrote for years and sent manuscripts out one after the other. I tried publishing houses. I tried going the agent route. Then one day a friend who had read my manuscript and told me that sure enough I could write and could truly get published said, "You simply must help drive these writers around for our Books Alive event."
How in the world driving writers around to the different events was going to help me get published was beyond my understanding, but I did want to meet these folks and hear their stories. I had a great time with people who share my passion. About that time our Friends of the Library group started talking about raising money for a new library. I suggested Author Luncheons. That is a win/win proposition. Authors get to bring their books to share. Bibliophiles get to meet the author personally and hear them tell of their writing experiences and the topic about which they write.
Since I personally knew a few authors, we invited them. I, of course, told them about my novel which happened to be about the Creek Indian War. Karen Spears Zacharias, author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Double Wide Cause I Need More Room For my Color TV?, had her first book published by Mercer University Press and suggested I contact Marc Jolley because he was real interested in the Creek Indians and Benjamin Hawkins, American Agent to the Creeks, in particular. I had not thought about Macon, Georgia, being the site of the Creek Agency. Had I done so, I would have realized that would be a logical place to send a novel about the Creek War! Karen had to come all the way from Oregon to enlighten me about the geographical impact of where to send a novel.
Had I not volunteered at the conference, I would not have met Karen. I would not have heard of Mercer University Press and Marc Jolley. I would not have sent Swimming with Serpents to Marc. Swimming with Serpents would not be coming out in September nor would Nest of Vipers (about the Seminole War) be scheduled for the following year (2013).
So, networking matters.