Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

Before I go though I must check my list twice to make sure I’m not missing a thing. Let’s see, I’ve got about 100 business cards, let’s hope that does it. I have my handy-dandy notebook for tracking all of my clients' projects, I have my computer, my calendar (which is exhausting to say the least), I have phone numbers, my phone. I have cute shoes (five pairs), running shoes (in case authors get desperate), outfits for every cocktail party and a few extras. I have books for the plane, queries for the plane, proposals for the plane, a snack for the plane, music for the plane . . . whew, that flight better be a long one.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, RWA is upon us. For those who aren’t members of Romance Writers of America, you don’t yet know that this is the conference to end all conferences. Everyone who is anyone in the romance community attends, and from Wednesday to Sunday I’ll be joining the hordes of agents and editors to enlighten you about the business, meet and greet, and hopefully make a few dreams come true.

My calendar is a busy one with back-to-back individual meetings with each of my clients. These are really my favorite. They give us time to sit down, face-to-face, and really talk about what’s going on. Are you happy? Unhappy? Are you having fun or just plodding along? What are your goals for this year, next year, the next decade? And did you see the dress on that editor last night? Wowza!

Now I know a number of my readers are not romance writers or RWA members (did you know you don’t have to write romance to be a member?), but there’s still a great deal that can be learned from this conference. One of my favorites is how, despite the bickering that can go on in any organization, RWA really comes together and supports all of its writers. The erotic romance authors stand shoulder to shoulder with the inspirational authors to cheer on everyone as they win a RITA, another book contract, or finish a manuscript. That’s cool.

So what’s my advice to those who are reading this from a San Francisco hotel room, getting ready to board my plane (I see you) or sitting at home taking a year off? In fact, what’s my advice to anyone attending a conference this weekend or any other weekend whether it’s a romance conference, SF/Fantasy, or a general conference? My advice . . . relax, have fun, and learn a lot.

If you have a pitch appointment with me you might be surprised to find out that I’m really not that scary. I like to think I am, but am told time and time again that I’m really not that mean. It’s a little bit of a disappointment for me really. Oh well. When you're meeting with me for a pitch, all I ask is that you make the best use of your 10 minutes. Come prepared. Give your pitch and then listen to what I have to say. I find that sometimes I can be full of useful information and I won’t mind at all if you want to take notes. If we both finish early, get ready with your list of questions. Ask me about me, about the business, if I know of any good restaurants in the Bay Area. Ask me to dispel any myths or gossip you’ve heard over the course of the weekend. In other words, engage me. It works, it really does. Remember me? I’m easily charmed.

If you meet me in the hallway, by all means smile, say hi, and introduce or reintroduce yourself. As tired as I might look or be, I’m always happy to meet another author. This is why I go to these things and, between you and me, I really do love the attention.

If you attend my workshop, laugh at all my jokes. It makes me feel good. Tee-hee. No really, feel free to stop up and say hi afterward, and if I didn’t get to your question, don’t hesitate to ask it then.

I’ll be blogging from the conference and I’ll try to keep you updated on what I’m seeing and hearing about the romance market, but also about other markets as well. With the blending of so many genres these days I think that all of you—fantasy, sf, mystery, women’s fiction authors—and everyone else will find something useful from my posts this weekend.

And before I board I’m going to sign off with this little teaser from a workshop I’m doing with BookEnds wunder-client Christie Craig, her partner in crime Faye Hughes, and Faye’s agent, Caren Johnson: The Great Agent Hunt.

Jessica

9 comments:

Julie Weathers said...

Oh, my stars. That video was hilarious.

"Come prepared. Give your pitch and then listen to what I have to say. I find that sometimes I can be full of useful information and I won’t mind at all if you want to take notes. If we both finish early, get ready with your list of questions."

Thank you, I've really been debating about pitching at Surrey. KC asked me what I had to lose. I responded, "My pride, my dignity...my lunch."

It's nice to know I can go in with a few sentences about my book and sit back and listen to suggestions.

"They give us time to sit down, face-to-face, and really talk about what’s going on. Are you happy? Unhappy? Are you having fun or just plodding along? What are your goals for this year, next year, the next decade? And did you see the dress on that editor last night? Wowza!"

Yep. I would love that kind of attention and interest from an agent.

Have fun at RWA

tina gray said...

That workshop trailer was so funny! Makes me wish I were attending just to go to that. Have a safe trip, all of you, and I hope everyone has fun, without getting "roped" into anything too bizarre. :-)

Jessica, thanks so much for keeping those of us that can't be there apprised of the ins and outs of the conference circuit. I'm always amazed by your dedication to this blog!

Kimber An said...

Have fun! I'll be reading about the conference from the comfort of the Blogosphere.

Sheila Connolly said...

I'll second your plug for joining RWA. I've been a member since I started writing, and my local chapter is filled with supportive and helpful people--and I don't write romance! RWA has a superb organization, with a lot of clout in the publishing world, so membership gives you access to a lot of information.

And don't forget RWA's Kiss of Death, the mystery/suspense chapter!

Kate Douglas said...

If you've never seen Christie Craig and Faye Hughes in action, you've missed one of the all time comedy duos of our day! Add Jessica to the mix, and it's hysterical...and extremely informative. RWA is a truly amazing organization, and Jessica's right--there really is something in it for every writer. Plus, the networking opportunities at the conference are unparalleled. I'm heading out for SF in about half an hour. Finally, a conference I don't have to fly to!

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo! I wanna go, too. For those of us who can't go to SF for a variety of reasons, this is an awful time. We feel so left out. Even the Yahoo loops dry up. But it's actually a more serious concern. Jessica, maybe you can enlighten us on what the conference REALLY does to an agent/editor's mindset. If I have a query, partial, or full already with an agent/editor, how will it be affected by the avalanche of new material the agent/editor will be presented at conference? Will the query/partial/full suddenly dull without a smiling face to go with it? What about after conference? If I can't write "enjoyed meeting you in SF," is it a waste of time to query for the next month or two? Will agents/editors feel so overwhelmed/roped/gunned from the conference that everything will suddenly seem undesirable?

Sorry to sound so negative, but those of us left behind do wonder what it means to us. Thanks for your thoughts.

Mark Terry said...

Sounds like an interesting con. Rob Gregory Browne has an interesting take on RWA (which he is attending even though he writes thrillers) and the role of romance and women readers over at Murderati today.

Shirley said...

Sorry Jessica I'm not going to the RWA Convention this year but perhaps we may see you at one of our Downunder Conferences sometime and some of our gifted NZ & Aussie writers we can get to meet you and pitch our stories to you.

Have a great conference and hope you have lots of fun.

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