And here’s a Daily Awesomeness I prepared earlier, while driving along Kingsford Smith Drive in Canberra (it is truly awesome that these photos were taken five minutes away from the city centre).
And now, the main event: How’d my schmoozing go yesterday?
Now is as good a time as any to admit that I hate schmoozing. Hate it hate it hate it. I don’t even like watching other people schmooze. And I’m a little creeped out by being schmoozed at (although it’s infinitely preferable, yes). I find nothing sadder than a group of unpublished authors oohing and aahing as two or three published authors talk about where they get their ideas.*
The jealousy. . . . drives me MAAADDD!
Yesterday was great. The first session, “Author as Brand” was actually, genuinely relevant and useful (partly because promotion begins before you sell your books, ie now). The second session was as fun as an author talk can get (and believe me, I’ve seen the other end of the spectrum more than once). The third was a lot like the first, but with magazine editors instead of authors. During the day I saw two of my writer friends, which was nice, and shook hands with one of the “Going Down Swinging” editors who I’m sure to see again at the launch party on Thursday.
At the third event I sat next to a drunk businessman who’d attended every single launch in that particular room (one of the “free event” spaces) all day, in unrealised hopes of free wine. I don’t think there’s any more accurate symbol of book launches than that man.
Here’s a pretty picture of the outside of the building where I’m spending most of my time:
The main reason I’m in such good spirits (despite being surrounded by used tissues due to my physical body’s silent but effective protest at my travels) is that I spent literally hours yesterday sitting on the ACMI floor with my laptop plugged in, fielding a gentle snowfall of dust bunnies. I edited “Waking Dead Mountain” (which has just been rejected by the Publisher A editing competition – although I think I made the long list). Mmm. . . editing. I then spent this morning polishing the book one last time and sending it off with the following cover letter:
Dear [name removed to protect the guilty],
My name is Felicity, and I acquired your email address from [name removed to protect the guilty] at “Publishing: The Whole Shebang” at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival last Friday. Hopefully he can vouch for my personal hygiene and general ability to promote myself (I wore an ankle-length red velvet dress so he’d remember me). He had a mild case of getting mobbed so I didn’t ask whether you hate attachments. If you do, just let me know and I’ll snail mail the extract (or book) to you next week.
I’ve attached the synopsis and first three chapters of “Waking Dead Mountain”, a 30,000-word adventure fantasy book for ages nine and up. The story is about an empath girl who works with semi-reformed pirates to solve the emotional issues of an ice volcano with an unfortunate habit of killing people when it feels threatened. It’s fully written and polished (recomended by Driftwood assessors), and part of a trilogy. I’ve also cut and pasted the first 250 words below, so you can see for yourself that my writing is competent before you make the hefty commitment of opening the attachment and/or emailing me back.
When I was sixteen years old I entered the [book competition run by this publisher]. My manuscript was awarded third most publishable after the state winners, and I later sold it to the (then) Royal Blind Society for audio book production. That was twelve years ago, and I’ve made the most of the intervening years to write infinitely better books, and to sell dozens of stories to magazines and competitions including the Katharine Susannah Prichard Science Fiction/Fantasy Award, Sleepers Press, and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild’s “Masques” anthology.
I wholeheartedly welcome editorial suggestions, and I come promotion-prepared with an online following of thousands.
The building is also hosting the Tim Burton exhibition that you may have seen on TV. I did my writing in an alcove next to this little guy:
. . . and I understood when I passed this exhibit that I’d be divorced if I didn’t take a picture (it was used in two of the movies):
And here’s your penultimate rainforest pic from flickr.com:
*There is one sadder thing: The fact that the shiny and adored writers still aren’t actually making a living.
UPDATE A FEW HOURS LATER:
I just received an email from the publisher who just received the beginning of “Waking Dead Mountain”. Here it is, with my comments.
Thanks for this, and glad to learn that [the guy from Friday’s schmoozing] is earning his crust outside of the office! We will log this submission into our system and give it the editorial attention we do all proposals [she’s gently telling me that shaking the guy’s hand isn’t QUITE enough for her to be misty-eyed with appreciation that I’d deign to send her my opus]. We aim to respond within three months and our track record isn’t too bad [lol! These guys take six months for the first three chapters, and six months for the full book – last time, the first chapters took nine months], so look forward to hearing from us by the end of November [probably February/March 2011].
From now on, my novel will have to talk for itself – which, fortunately, it does rather well.