How to Hustle: Gentle Networking Tips for Writers with Amy Fish - HippoCamp 22 by Cheryl W Brooks

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Last but certainly not least was the selection of my final session before the closing program of the fun-filled, literary-packed HippoCamp 2022.   I decided to make Amy Fish my last stop. I was curious due to the title of her workshop and the keyword that I so intimately cling to, “hustle.”  Amy Fish gave out chocolate to a shameless chocolate-addict, which won me over immediately, plus she’s from Canada, eh?! Her hometown of Montreal is one of the coolest cities I have ever visited. Unbeknownst to Amy was my fondness of Canada birthed by my frequent visits to her beloved country during my early career days.

Amy offered us what she referred to as “gentle tips” to networking in the writing arena.  I loved that she shared with us that the entire workshop was driven by a missed opportunity experienced by her friend. If her gal pal would have attended this workshop, she would have at least thought twice about blowing off a chance to meet with an agent.   In fact, for me, “take the Metro to talk with a New York City literary Agent when your BFF sets a meeting up,” is one of my biggest take-aways from the weekend. It's a reminder to be prepared, say yes, get ready, and leap when the net is open. Additionally, Amy put a cool spin on ways to perceive rejection by creating a goal of acquiring a certain number of rejections.  How about that for a twist? However, she gave examples of individuals who became extremely financially successful from achieving hundreds of rejections.

Amy reiterated that being “vivacious” was not a requirement to win at networking.  Those not quite comfortable with the unfamiliar can perform good deeds like buying a writer’s book and writing a review or blogging about it. Something I think I’ll try that was offered by Amy was volunteering online to transcribe history in the public domain. I loved that idea! Kindness was also a tip given by Fish which should be an easy action step whether you’re  shy or outgoing. Don’t you think?  Her conclusion: It is easy to be a writer and hustle. It was refreshing and reaffirming to hear familiar advice in a new way and with a different angle. Amy told stories that demonstrated such simple yet comedic illustrations. I  learned as much about who Amy Fish the person is, as I absorbed about improving my ability to network in a way that wins friends, involves self-care and introspection. Her transparency made you feel safe enough to take honest inventory of your networking toolbox. Now, I’m going to buy another copy of her book: I Wanted Fries with That for myself, and I have a copy from Amy to give away. 


In case you attended a different workshop and would like to follow Amy’s tips, here they are:


1. Understand what you want.

2. Just show up.

3. Generate work.

4. Come to terms with rejection.

5. Volunteer.

6. Be helpful to other people.

7. Research/don’t go in cold.

8. Follow up.

9. Look after yourself.


Amy provided a potpourri of media resources which I strongly encourage you to dive into. I’m starting with the story about Kanye West since Amy spoke of his extraordinary sense of perseverance. Here’s her list:

·      List Your Goals Journal by Erica Diamond

·      Growing Gills by Jessica Abel

·      Steal Like an Artist by Austine Kleon

·      The Artist Way by Julie Cameron

·      The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

·      CNF Podcast with Brendan O’Meara

·      Jenn-yuhs Kanya Triology on Neflix

·      100 days of rejection Tedx Talk with Jia Jang

·      Budman. On Tik Tok


·      Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books with Zibby Owens

·      In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

·      Writer’s Bridge podcast with Allison K. Williams and Ashleigh Renard

·      Writing Trauma with Lisa Cooper Ellison

·      Unorthodox Podcast

·      Tim Horton’s Coffee

·      I Wanted Fries with That: How to Ask for What You Want and Get What You Need by Amy Fish


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