Currently working on: Still unpacking from the RT Booklovers’ Convention
Last Monday, when I was supposed to be blogging here, I was flying back from Columbus Ohio after the RT Booklovers’ Convention, where more than a thousand women — and a few men — gathered together for a solid week of book lovin,’ Mr. Romance-ogling (I did mention there were a few men), drinking, and more book lovin.’
Highlights of my trip:
- Whiskey shots with Joe Konrath, author of WHISKEY SOUR (see, those shots were networking)
- Scoring Jeri Smith-Ready’s newest, SHADE, a paranormal YA, before she sold out at the book fair — mine, all mine!
- Four nights of dancing in person with online friends
Lowlights of my trip:
- The DJ who, when I asked if he had any Bollywood dance music, responded that, well, he had Molly Hatchet — er, not quite
- Forgetting my tiara for the prom-themed dance party
- The flight home from Ohio to Oregon via New York — don’t ask
Back to the highlights though. I got to mingle with all sorts of people, from voracious readers to aspiring writers to famous authors. (Is that Charlaine Harris?! OMG OMG! I adore name dropping!) What an amazing, fun, savvy, dedicated group it was. For a newer author like myself, it was a wonderful opportunity to talk with a wide swath of book people and contemplate, “Geez, who let me in here?”
Turns out, there wasn’t a sekrit handshake required at the door.
Oh, I knew there wasn’t really a sekrit handshake, but when I was racking up rejections in the early years of my writing (uh, and in the later years too) I desperately hoped there was a large, Raybanned, cross-armed bouncer guarding a NYC office building with “Publishing” somewhere on the letterhead who could be bought off with the right open sesame. In many ways, it seemed easier to imagine a trick than to think of all the hard work.
After all, ”work hard” just isn’t an inspiring call to adventure.
But one theme I heard repeated at RT time and again was the value of perseverance, the stubborn dedication that goes with hard work. I talked to a multi-published author whose number of rejections quadrupled mine. I met writers in all stages, from “I have this idea” to just receiving a request for a complete manuscript from an editor attending the convention. I had dinner with a reader who drove ten hours after work through the night to make the convention, blowing a tire in the process. “I need chocolate,” was her only complaint. They all wanted the same thing: books. Lots of books.
Can you be clear eyed and starry eyed at the same time? I think so. I saw that at RT, and it reminded me, the door was always open. I just had to get there.
The RT Booklovers’ Convention is in Los Angeles next year. Maybe I’ll see some of you!