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?