How Should a Beginner go About Networking?

So, I am a very green SFF writer in a city--Memphis--that is not very nurturing to my genre. This is due to the fact that there is not a significant amount of established writers here.

Here is what I want to know:

1) How crucial are writing groups to local networking? There are no well-known groups here, so I may have to create my own if need be.

2) What should I seek to accomplish in networking with people in the SFF industry?

3) How crucial are Sci Fi-centered conventions to networking and selling books?


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