Sorry, no advice for querying writers tonight. I’m going to share something from my own experience: my first “networking party.”
If I’m going to be completely honest, I have to admit that I almost fainted when Robert told me today that he wasn’t coming with me. Umm…what? Leave me to face a sea of strangers? In a strange place? How do I get there? What do I say? Okay, so I’m not a little kid and I don’t need hand holding. He probably did me a favor—I would have clung to him like a wet blanket. But still, there was that moment…
And the moment after it was scarier. “By the way, don’t forget to mention such-and-such book and such-and-such project. And bring these handouts.” Ugh. How do I work that in a conversation?
I fretted about it all day. And finally, directions in hand (okay, on my cell phone via HopStop) I set out: 433 Park Ave. And I got there okay! Which, if you don’t know me, is a huge step. But there was no door—at least not for 433, just for 435. I walked back and forth along that block for 30 minutes, sure it had to be something I did wrong or a door I wasn’t seeing. And boy did I do something wrong.
It turns out that I didn’t scroll down far enough in the directions on my BlackBerry—it said “433 Park Ave. S.” So this seemed like a good time for panic: I had no idea how to get to this mysterious “S,” or if I would even make it there before the party was over. I didn’t have any idea how to find the right subway and at 5:30pm the chances of getting a cab were about .01%. Here were people that I admired and RSVPed to and I was going to stand them up and let the boss down and embarrass myself and never make any contacts and how can I get a job if I don’t meet anyone…deep breath.
Then the publishing gods smiled upon me. I know it was them because the near-impossible happened: I became one of the golden few to get a taxi in rush hour. I still can’t believe a taxi pulled up and let a passenger out at my feet. I may have looked a bit desperate when I dove into the cab in my power suit (complete with skirt), but it was only because I WAS desperate. Thankfully, that was the end of my bad luck.
The people at Egmont, and their guests, were wonderful. They completely killed my nervous energy right at the door with a personal greeting as though they already knew me—everyone was so friendly! And meeting other interns/hopefuls was a great boost—it’s great to know there are other people out there sharing my journey. Plus, I love talking about books. I had the chance to talk up my client, whose work will be going out sometime next week. I hope that I’m starting a personal relationship with people, not just being a faceless voice on the phone.
I don’t know if I did enough of what I was supposed to do for the agency (promoting our books) but I managed to promote myself and my client. I guess that’s a good start. I even left with ARC in hand: Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff, which I started on the bus home. It came with a personal recommendation from the delightful Elizabeth Law (@EgmontGal), who was just one of the great people I met. A few of the others (whose names I can remember): Sarah Davies (Greenhouse), Miriam Kriss (Irene Goodman), Diana Fox (Fox Literary), and Joanna Stampfel-Volpe (FinePrint).
Perhaps someone will have a position for me? Or…publish my client’s book? If nothing else, I’m really glad I got to meet everyone—I certainly handed out a whole lot of business cards.
Until next week,