Sunday, September 09, 2007

Q & A 119

My husband and I are going to a party next month and I just found out a bunch of publishing hotshots will be there including people I want as my agent and my publisher and my editor which would be great except I'm in panic mode because what do I say to someone who holds the key to my future happiness and do I go with the little black dress or the gray suit and should I be humble or confident and what if I faint and fall in the swimming pool and . . . HELP ME EE I'M NOT READY FOR THIS YET!!!

Obviously you won't be peddling your book at a party; you just want to make a memorable impression on anyone you might be writing to in the near future, so that you can open your query letter with something personal like, Remember me? I was the woman who spilled her bloody Mary in your lap at the party last month.

Tips when meeting big-time movers and shakers in publishing:

1. Be yourself.

2. Wear the little black dress. No, the backless one.

3. Leave your husband home.

4. If #3 is impossible, at least tell him to stay on the other side of the room. The last thing you need is him turning the conversation to pro football.

5. Feel free to drop the name Evil Editor if you need some ammunition to clinch the deal.

By the way, a lot of publishing pros attend conventions, at which you have a chance to see them on panels, run into them in elevators etc. Among the most enjoyable are the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, which moves around, and ReaderCon, near Boston, which is spec-fic but without the Klingons. You don't need to be a romance or spec-fic author to find useful and entertaining activities, and you might make some valuable connections. Agents seldom limit themselves to one genre, so they may attend conventions/workshops of any genre they handle.

My point being, if you get out and meet a few of these people, it won't feel so frightening the next time. And remember, agents and publishers are just working people doing their jobs. Writers are artists, who will be remembered forever, or at least until their books go out of print. So who should really be nervous here?


Phoenix said...

Your fashion advice is spot on, EE. The backless number is definitely the way to go. Means plenty of bare skin on which hubby can scrawl: Ask me about my unpubbed bestseller.

Always adorable to "accidentally" run out of space and drop that last "r" to the next line, too. Or, if you want something a little classier, you can't go wrong using the proofreading caret to insert a "left-out" letter. Shows you really know your stuff.

Go knock 'em read, girlfriend!

GutterBall said...

Hey, what's wrong with talking about professional football? Here, I'll compromise. You bring your husband, and I'll keep him on the other side of the room talking about football.

Deal? Deal.

Anonymous said...

Bring back gossip about Simon & Shuster!! I still haven't figured out what went on there?

writtenwyrdd said...

BTW, I thought I'd relay that Writer's Digest blog is having a contest at

It's a challenge to invent new words.

Anonymous said...

backless number is definitely the way to go. Means plenty of bare skin on which hubby can scrawl: Ask me about my unpubbed bestseller.
LOL!! That's very funny!
She can just wear her manuscript to the party. Anyone who wants to read has to peel a page. Wear only your best chapters, girlfriend!

Robin S. said...

How about some nice cleavage - would that work just as well?

I attended a conference this spring-the first one I'd ever attended - I went there specifically to see an agent that I was interested in - and it was a good experience. I didn't go to interact - I went to observe him on a panel, and it worked out very well.

But this party may be a little more intimidating a place, especially if it's not terribly large.

That's a good way to think of it, though, symbiotically rather than gatekeeper vs. groveler.

sylvia said...

What a great idea, Phoenix! I'm so trying this at the next charity do!