Let me tell you a little story about small working communities:
Two summers ago, I went to a panel where an editor named Katie was speaking. She brought some books that she’d worked on to hand out and I snagged a book that had been on my list for a few months, then read it a few weeks later. Come fall, I was in a class with a different editor named John who asked us to find authors who fit a specific theme for an upcoming project. I suggested the author of the book I’d gotten from Katie. Only to find out that John’s wife is the author’s agent, and that Katie would actually be coming to speak to the class the next week.
This experience fed into my fear that publishing is run by, like, fifteen people. It’s not, of course, but there are a lot of industries with scenes like this—they have a handful of key players who all seem to run in the same circles. This social setup can make networking extra challenging—not unlike vying for a seat at the “popular” table in a movie high school’s cafeteria. [READ MORE for] some tips on how to get in with a crowd that feels “invite only.”