The Literary Festival was definitely worthwhile! I have a much better sense of the industry, the community, what it takes and what I need to do.
Ugly truth: It's all about marketing. NOOOOOOooooooo. I feel like I'm trapped in the freakin' mafia. Apparently it's ESSENTIAL to market yourself. First by providing a "hook" for your book to help your agent and editor "sell" your book to the all-powerful marketing people who have been known to kill many a project. Yes, yes, I know what you're saying, "but you know how to do it - what's the problem?" I know, and yes I can, it's just.... ugh.
Scary part: Master pitch session. Writers got to stand at a microphone and pitch their stories to a panel of 8 agents, editors and publishers and get instant feedback. It wasn't pretty. Comments were harsh,"You just generically described every mystery on the shelf." or "Why should I care about your opinion on this subject?" ouch. I didn't get the opportunity to pitch - it was done by lottery number and mine wasn't called.
New best friends? Yes, I made an effort to be "friendly Karen" instead of scowling Karen, and I managed to more or less befriend a couple of fellow writers I plan on keeping in touch with. One is a forensic chemist by day and one just relocated here from Maine. As for authors, I used the "Stephen method" of seat selection at dinner and it worked! The idea is to sit at the emptiest table and then see who ends up there. I ended up with women's fiction author Maria T Lennon and sci fi/ fantasy author Tad Williams. I didn't know who they were at the time, which is probably a good thing or I wouldn't have been able to talk at all. Tad Williams was incredibly nice and gave me tons of advice. Chatting with him was definitely a highlight of the weekend.
On Sunday Linda and I went back to the festival to hear Peter Straub talk and get him to sign some books. Linda even asked him a specific question about Ghost Story. If you ever get the chance to go hear him talk you should.
I am definitely motivated and inspired!
Oh, and for the record, I have been eating sugar. I had two pieces of cake on Linda's birthday, 1 1/2 scones at the tea yesterday and miscellaneous scoops of ice cream during the week. I didn't mean to mislead you into thinking I had actually kicked the sugar habit for good. no no no. :)