To this day, my kids still ask me that. I love to talk to people and usually do, which brings me to the first part of my topic, networking at conferences.
There is no better place to connect with people who “get” you than at a writers’ conference. Even if you are an introvert, someone like me is going to come up to you and ask what you write. Before you know it, you will be talking to a perfect stranger (me) and wondering exactly how many lattes I had that morning. (Remember Kramer on that one Seinfeld episode when he had too many? That’s me.)
And you wanna know something? Nine times out of ten, your answer will surprise the heck out of me. While I pictured you writing sweet romances, you will floor me with plots of steamy erotica or vampire-hunting, shape-shifting werewolves. I love conferences for this reason. Even the smaller ones are great for networking. Matter of fact, sometimes they are more intimate and allow for better access to one-on-one time with the editors and agents in attendance.
That said, I LOVE RWA Nationals, one of the biggest ones out there. I adore the crowds, the goody room, the bars at night where everyone in there is talking writing and just about everything else, including the great workshops where you can’t help learning new stuff.
Insert plug here: This year in Nashville, our very own Christine Witthohn and fellow M & M blogger and my Berkley sister, Kari Townsend, along with Doug McKeon, a Hollywood director who has optioned Kari’s Middle Grade story, The Samantha Granger Experiment: Fused, will offer a workshop about exactly that – when Hollywood comes calling. I will be moderating. (Something you probably don’t know about me is that I gasp for air when I get in front of crowds.) So, plan on being there if you go this year, and get there early. My guess is, it will be packed. Oh, and bring an oxygen tank if you have one lying around!
Anyway, I digress. At all the conferences I attend, I like to collect business cards. Because I am of the age where memory doesn’t always serve, I write a little something on the back to help me put a face to the name. Last week, I was going through my stack and decided to share some with you. Most of them simply say things like - Canadian at breakfast, Dallas 2007, bookseller at lunch in DC 2009, etc. Some are more specific and a few are downright interesting. Those are the ones I’m gonna list. I’ll leave out the names to protect the innocent – and to keep from getting harassing emails.
A police homicide commander from Atlanta who said to call him anytime. If I remember correctly, he was cute. I think I might need some help!!
A woman who won the Librarian of the Year award in 2006. It pays to know librarians.
Two women I met at the Harlequin party we crashed last year. Both belong to online book clubs and said to let them know when I sell, and they’ll get the word out to their friends to buy my book. Yippee!!
A Wild Rose Press editor who acquires dark paranormal. Since I don’t write that, I just partied with her.
A young guy from my chapter who asked if I’d look at some of his work. Not being able to say no - another thing I am famous for – I said yes and he whipped out seven chapters. Fortunately for me, his seven chapters were only 20 pages total!!
And last but not least, in Reno, I sat with an older guy who was a chiropractor. He said he was shopping his book – are you sitting down? – a 650 page book that involved the colon.
You can’t make up stuff like this!!
One hundred and forty-two days until Nashville!! I can't wait to add to my card collection.
Got any good stories about networking?