I am so glad to blog today – I’m going off topic to discuss the merits of networking. Not just online stuff – but good old fashioned face to face meet and greet.
With all of the convenience of email, texting and facebook etc. it’s easy to forget that people are real – not avatars. It’s so much simpler to do all of our communicating through cyberspace. Unless you are skyping, you don’t need to get dressed or wear make up – just sign in to the chat group, pick a cute and perky cartoon figure, which is a far cry from your uncombed, unbrushed self, to represent you and you’re in business. Learn a new skill, joke, promote your work/professional self – all from the privacy of your office while you wear bunny slippers and drink coffee from a cracked mug. Who cares? Who can see? This is cool, I won’t argue (she says from her messy, dish laden desk) but there are excellent reasons for leaving the house, too.
I suppose I’m going on because I’ve just gotten back from the Florida Romance Writers Fun in the Sun/Cruise with your Muse conference. It is our chapter’s 25th anniversary and we are going strong. Our group began with Heather Graham, Sally Schoenweiss and Joan Johnston, who are all still participating members. Ona Bustos and Joan Hammond have belonged for 24 years – and the list goes on. Why? What is so special about a group of women interested in the writing industry that they have such long time members?
As I listened to the founding mothers give their unique speeches on the cruise I heard the answer three fold. Joan Johnston is a professional business woman, as are Sally and Heather. They entered into writing because while they loved the written word, they didn’t forget that publishing is a multi million dollar baby. Each woman found her own way to reach success and each woman was generously willing to share that information. They answered questions and offered advice and encouragement. In my opinion, that’s what makes FRW strong. And you can’t get that kind of camaraderie on line.
Our Fun in the Sun conference brings in top notch acquiring agents and editors. We get to know these professionals on a more personal level. I’ve had lobster benedict with Eric Raab, worn balloon hats with Adam Wilson, and had dinner with Wanda Ottawell. I found out that Lucienne Diver has a wicked sense of humor, and Lucy Childs looks like a flower child – but she’s smart as a tack. Erika Tsang is genuinely nice, nice nice. And they are all looking for the same thing we are – a GREAT book. These pros are inundated with manuscripts and edits, so meeting them face to face, giving a good impression and sparking their interest with your fabulous premise is a way past the slush pile that you aren’t going to get if you stay at home, safe and warm, behind your computer.
What are your thoughts? Are you willing to travel for a chance at success? Or is the computer your cyber road to publishing??