Monday, August 4, 2014

Don’t Be a Wallflower by Linda S. Glaz

            Well, it’s here. For the last couple weeks conference season has been in full swing, and it’s just getting stronger.
I’m not going to discuss proposals, synopses, or the ever-popular elevator pitch. What I’m going to discuss is: opportunity. The chance for you to connect with editors, agents, and even more importantly, other writers. Why other writers? Because they will be the ones to help you once you are published.
I realize that many of us, believe it or not—me, too, have a difficult time in new situations, meeting new people. I get over it more quickly now, but it used to be a disaster waiting to happen.
Put on your mask, whether it’s different makeup, a new hairstyle, what it takes to let you feel as if you have a ‘good place to hide’, and join in the crowd.
Try sitting at a table at lunch or dinner with new folks. Just ask one question of the person on either side of you. “What do you write?” And let them talk. By letting them talk, you will make an instant friend.
Take the time at an agent or editor’s table. Don’t tell them what you write; ask them what they are looking for. What is their favorite book to have represented? Put the questions in their laps and enjoy the interesting answers. You will make a much bigger mark on them rather than rambling through an entire meal about how wonderful you are.
Get to really know the folks at the conference: volunteer, offer rides from the airport, help carry someone’s books (I know, it will feel like grade school, but help someone who needs it). Make yourself the go to person even if it makes you cringe inside.
Soon, you will interacting in ways you never thought possible and you will be remembered.
Conferences are no good to you if you spend all the time in a hidey hole!
Don’t wait for something to happen. MAKE something happen.


Jackie said...

Thanks for the great tips. I think one of the gifts God has given me is to see people who need help. If they struggle with a door, a wheelchair, or stroller. I taught my sons to look up and watch for others who might need a hand. I even told the boys to rake the neighbor's leaves when they left town for a funeral. I don't think the neighbor ever realized it, but the guys did the right thing.

Conference is so intimidating. I was a wreck my first year. I'll never forget the people who took time to speak to me and make me feel a little more comfortable.

My second year was better, and I tried to look for people who seemed to be by themselves. I think you're right. Not only is focusing on others the right thing to do, it lessens our stress when we're not just focused on our goals.

Thanks for sharing!

Linda Glaz said...

Great thoughts, Jackie. I tend to see people with physical problems right away. I used to work in a physical therapy clinic, and holding doors, saying, "Right behind you" and such became second nature. So that part is easy for me. What was hard for me was to get to now new people. Terry taught me to pretend I had another persona. One that wasn't me but was a confident outgoing one. And I can act! So it became part of an act and worked. I got to know so many people. Paying all that money to attend conferences is silly if we don't take every single advantage of it.

Joyce Hart said...

I hope authors understand how important it is to attend conferences. Good blog, Linda.

Linda Glaz said...

Thanks, Joyce. I want to be sure that they get their money's worth!

Terri Tiffany said...

I enjoyed sitting next to lunch with you in Montrose even though you scared me to death! Lol