Conferences and what not to do

Joe’s Post #55

adult contentFirst of all, a warning. This post contains adult content. At least more so than usual. So, anyone offended by foul language or naked pictures of me, please log off now and go to a safer site like the one with that nice girl from Hannah Montana…

wait, she’s doing what now?

OFMG! Never mind.

Anyway… conferences. I’ve decided to go to the Surrey International Writer’s Conference, where (last year) we were the 5 writers, 5 novels, 5 months people. It was kinda cool and my fellow writers were amazingly awesome at marketing themselves. Now, it’s time to pitch the book that I wrote. But it’ll just be me. 1 writer, 1 novel, 1 day (ok, 2 but 1 sounds cooler).

So, 10 things I can tell you from personal experience NOT to do if you’re going to a conference to sell your book.

1) Don’t hide in a corner, in the bathroom, in the back of the workshops or behind that tall, thin guy who’s just written a space epic about a vampire hunter with enormous boobs. Get out there. Talk to the agents and editors and, if you really have to, the writers. Super, super tough for me since I am, at heart, an introvert. But I will be chatty-Joe for 2 days. I have to be.

2) Do not, I repeat, do not drink too much. It’s ok to have a drink in your hand (though, perhaps, not in the workshops at 9am) but don’t go too far. Otherwise you could easily sound like this. “Heya, whash up? Yer like an agent, like, right? Shooo cool. I want an agent jusht like you. With your pretty face and hair and stuff. Will you pleash be my agent? Pleeeeeash.” (followed by crying when she says no.)

3) Do not talk about how great you are at blowjobs. Yes, I learned this the hard way, though strangely enough, it had nothing to do with rule #2 (nor was it actually ME talking about that subject.) Now, normally you’d think when a pretty woman sits down across from you – and right after I ask her what book she’s written, she goes on to tell me all about her oral history –  that this would all be awesome. You’d be wrong. It was very uncomfortable. I mean, what do I say to that? Errr, good for you? You did that hanging from a chandelier? And was it really Mick Fleetwood? Anyway, my advice, steer clear of conversation about sexual prowess unless you have a whole different agenda for attending the conference.

4) Do not dress like an idiot. Dress well. Not tuxedo well. But if you are pitching something, look professional. Leave the 2-sizes-too-small t-shirt with the holes in it that says, “Hand Solo,” at home. In fact, burn it. Even if you’re a girl. I think it matters how people see you and if they see you’re not taking this too seriously, why should they?

ignore5) Do not talk to agents or editors in the bathroom. This should be a no brainer, but call me crazy, the last thing I’d want if I was an agent and trying to get rid of 12 cups of coffee is someone standing beside me and talking about their latest children’s book entitled “The Best Things to Drink Under the Sink.”

6) Never pitch something like “The Best Things To Drink Under the Sink.” Unless, you know, it’s super funny in which case, change the title. But know who you are pitching to and what they want. Don’t pitch an angel novel to someone looking for vampire books only (yes, that one was me!) See next do-not.

7) Don’t give a bad pitch. I don’t think you have to have a perfect pitch, and you certainly shouldn’t let an obsession with perfection get in the way of a good pitch, but try your best not to make it a bad pitch. I should know. I’m the master of bad pitches. “So, it’s like this story about some people who like do things and then stuff happens and I want Sandra Bullock to play the lead and please tell her the nudity scene is integral to the plot.” So, with help from my writing friends, my writer’s group, I’m agonna work on a good elevator pitch.

8) Don’t bring gifts, sacrifices, donations or trinkets for the agents/editors. A pair of earrings or bouquet of flowers is fine for your girlfriend, but will not be well received by the agent/editor. Severed heads are also discouraged. Let your writing speak for itself.

9) Never lie, fib or misrepresent yourself. “Why, Joe, I see here that you’re a veteran police detective with 20 years on the forces, 7 citations for bravery and a noble peace prize. Plus, wow, it looks like you’ve given a kidney to Gandhi, taught blind, Afghan school girls to see and invented a cure for small penises. That’s pretty impressive.” No. Just no. Now, I would love to have done all those things but at the end of the day, I’m just me, justjoe and here is what I’ve written.

10) Don’t take this all too seriously. I may need this one tattooed to my forehead. It makes a good talking pointserious (hey, why did you get that put on your forehead?) and it’ll remind me every time I look in the mirror, even if it’s all backwards and stuff. Writing should be fun. Talking about your book should be fun. Meeting agents and editors should be fun. I just need to remember that.

Now, all I have to do is finish the rewrite. I’ve cleared the decks of commitments and I will GETTER DONE! I love deadlines. I can totally do this.

This entry was posted in Agents, Editing and tagged by Joe Cummings. Bookmark the permalink.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.

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