Monday, September 12, 2005

They Keep Pulling Me Back In

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. :)


Ed said...

Tad Williams!?! I've read one of his series, pretty good. Way to amke contacts! :)

Karen said...

Hopefully his version of events isn't being trapped with some ridiculous wanna-be chick lit writer, but I don't think so. He had opportunities to escape that he didn't capitalize on.
Like I said, I didn't know who he was until I got home and googled him. Then I almost fell over. BEST-SELLING author. Holy Crap. So yes, that went well :)

Dodi said...

Re: sugar

"They keep pulling me back in" could relate to sugar too.

I'm currently eating sweets like mad, but it is amazing to see how sugar saturated our lives are. While I'm "being good" and not eating sweets, I'm bombarded with sugar everywhere I go. Commercials, checkout lines, co-workers who bring krispy kremes, even the hardware store is unsafe. I bought gas a few weeks ago and they were giving away Hershey bars with gas purchase! What the hell? Can't even fill up the tank without being tempted.

Must get back on the wagon, but just not willing yet. Good luck Karen, be strong.