First some potentially good news: despite my gimpy attempts at networking, I did meet some very nice people. One of which is the (I know this is a cliche but it's true) lovely and talented Kay Kenyon. (http://www.kaykenyon.com/ and by the by she has a new story up on WOTC's D&D Insider site. It's outside the subscription wall, so please check it out http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/drfic/20101025 )
I went to Kay's reading for her next novel and I loved it. She had a drawing for a copy of her first novel, The Bright of the Sky*, which I somehow won. I guess that gave me the stones to tell her a little of my admiration for her work and to ask her if she had some time to talk, later. She kindly agreed to meet me for coffee and gave good advice and guidance, which I soaked up.
Kay also referred me to an agent who was trying to build her list of clients. (No names, yet. Don't want to jinx anything) I managed to introduce myself to her without looking TOO much of a fool. Stumbling story short, she extended an invitation to me to submit a query for Angel Odyssey. That was very cool. My goal this week (well, tonight and tomorrow night, really) is to polish again the first four pages of Chapter 1 and submit that to her. If she likes it, we'll go further and start that dance.
I'm cautiously excited.
One think Kay picked up on and rightly dinged me for is ambition. I am ambitious to succeed as a writer. I'm hungry, not just for success but to learn more and to write well. I'm hungry to entertain readers, if that makes any sense. Honestly, I'm glad she noticed that. I was trying to keep my expectations under control for this convention. I was trying to go there to have fun and meet people as well as begin/further my career. You could see the people who were there for career reasons, primarily. They weren't happy. They weren't having fun. I mean even the published authors, people I've known and read and loved to read. They were consumed by uncertainty, fear and ambition. As a related note, I have a love/hate relationship with mirrors.
But my ambition, even tamped down and tamed (I hope) did make it hard to relax and enjoy myself. My God, it was like dating, all over again. I was so hyper-conscious of not wanting to look needy or ambitious, it was almost impossible to relax and 'be myself'. Arg. I was constantly trying to project confidence in my body language, trying not to hover around writers or editors I wanted to meet, trying not to trail after those nice enough to spend some of their time with me. I hope I didn't come off as some arrogant prick.
I could go on and on about my networking failures and things I learned (and probably will in other posts) but I have to say that there were good times, too. The parties were wonderful chances to meet people and talk, much better than the cavernous bar. But the bar, as well, was a good learning experience. And I know that my next convention, be it World Con or Dragon Con, will be more successful and more fun because of the things I learned here.
But still, it's tough going solo to one of these things.
*I know I keep gushing, but the whole series is amazing. Again, check it out: http://www.kaykenyon.com/novels/