Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting What You Didn't Pay For

Maven Lacey KayeI'm the one at the end of the meeting -- when everything professional has been said by everyone else -- who leans back and says, "Anyone wanna get a beer?"

Sometimes, I think that's what Thursday Maven means to me. Now that you've had a) a rundown of what it means to be a ninja rockstar b) an orderly, functional list of conferences you could attend in your area and c) a professional's viewpoint on the benefits of local conferences over national ones (and knowing there may well be an e) Special Guest Blogger tomorrow *crosses fingers*), I'm left with d). Let's party hard, all up in this joint.

If a conference is semi-local or you're feeling generous with your hard-earned money, you may find yourself staying at the conference hotel with the out of town peeps. But let's say the conference is practically in your backyard, and you are broker than... Well, can't spoil one of my favorite lines from my own ms, can I?

But anyway, you may very well end up staying at your own place. This is not very conference-y. Being in the bar is where it's at; I think we can all agree on that. Even if you're going Shirley Temple on me (and you're not, because if you were we would not be friends), you're in the bar. You're dishing with La Nora or La Dodd or the Elizabeth Hoyts of the world (are there more? No, that's just a term I'm bandying about...sigh). Or better yet, an agent or three. This is because the primary purpose most people have when going to conferences is to meet Important People Who Could Potentially Improve Your Career.

So...wait a minute. Who says you have to be staying at the hotel to go to the bar, right? You totally don't. Bar's a public place, as I'm fond of saying. You can pop in at any time.

Which is all to say that, God forbid, should you ask my advice on something (and people always do, even though I warn them this could get you into Very Big Trouble, or at the least, Very Awkward Situations), I would tell you that you SHOULD drop in on the conference bar. Even if you don't actually attend the conference itself. And if a group of people *happen* to be going out to dinner right near where you live, then you may as well *happen* to be there, too, right?

Are you getting the fact that my sole experience with the Emerald City Conference happened without me being registered? Because you should be.

I'm not encouraging fly-by-night dropping in on conferences. I'm just saying, should one happen to be taking place in your backyard, and should you happen to be a procrastinating slacker who forgot to actually register for it, then why should you also miss out on what's sure to be a great time? And possible editor requests? And gossiping with Julia Quinn, Shirley Karr and others?

I'm just saying.

So tell me: have you ever crashed anything, ever? And do you have a good story -- or a story you could make good -- to share with the rest of us? Or am I the only underhanded schmuck in the room?


J Perry Stone said...

You ARE the "anyone wanna beer" girl, Lacey. I still can't get over you downing one right before your first (was it your first ever??) pitch at RWA Atlanta.

I filled with envy and admiration for you at that exact moment, mostly because I'm a do-it-by-the-rules girl … unfortunately. I'm nervous, worried, and very fearful I'm not doing something right ... and plus I have this habit of saying things that makes people gasp.

This is why I don't go to the bar (and also why I don't drink a beer before my editor apt.)

What did I tell Darcy?—that talking to editors and agents in any place other than that little pitch table made me feel like one of those dogs constantly sniffling people’s crotches. I wish felt otherwise, however. I think I’d be a lot further along in my career, if I did.

So, in a cliché: you rock, Lacey!

Crash those conferences with huge success, and I’ll toast you with my beer here at home.


Bill Clark said...

Or am I the only underhanded schmuck in the room?

I'm with you, Lacey! Some of the best parties I've been to were ones where my invitation was "lost" in the mail.

A few years ago I flew down to Bermuda for Columbus Day weekend (US Air had a special $68 each-way fare, and my favorite B&B hostess Mrs. Pickles offered me a lovely room in her Victorian mansion for $50 per night, so it was cheaper than staying home!). Everyone on the plane down asked, "Are you coming to the wedding?"

Pretty soon someone had furnished me with the full list of weekend festivities, from cocktail parties to the blessed event itself to the celebration bash at a historic landmark home. I quickly developed an MO that seemed to work pretty well: to friends of the bride I would say I was a friend of the groom, and vice versa. Over cocktail conversation I learned enough about the spousal pair to pull the six degrees of separation thing, and by the time it was all over I had convinced myself (and everyone else) that that I really *had* flown down for the wedding.

And the writing connection? It'll make great filler for my GAN (Great American Novel) one of these days.

Oh, and if RWA or some other swinging group decides to meet in the NYC area, let me know. I'll be over in the bar schmoozing with Lacey and the Mavens in a New York minute! ;-)

Celeste said...

*bows on knees to party crashers* Why do these ideas never occur to ME?

Kendra said...

"dogs constanly sniffing people's crotches" (snort)

Wow! This describes my feelings to a T when it comes to approaaching agents outside of appointments. Glad I'm not the only one.

Lacey, looking forward to having a beer (or mojito) with you and Darcy in the bar.

lacey kaye said...

J Perry, I'm always nervous, worried, and very fearful I'm not doing something right ... and plus I have this habit of saying things that makes people gasp. I just pretend I don't. Sooo...I don't.

I love your dog/crotches similie -- me, too! Very awkward. What I remind myself of constantly (and the Mavens can attest that I remind them of this, too) is that a) so long as you are professional, it's incredibly unlikely you will cause something Very Bad to happen simply by going up and talking to someone and b) everyone likes to feel important. So if you those two together, grovel accordingly, then wham you can crash the party with confidence.

Bill, *great* story. You topped me by a mile-high ;-)

Celeste, see above! Everyone can do it!* It's a party!

* Make sure to read the other people -- feel the situation out -- so you can learn the difference between "Hey, I wish I *had* invited you; c'mon in!" and "Uh, I didn't invite you for a reason. Are you going to make me spell it out?"

Kendra -- ditto! Emerald City will ROCK!

Which reminds me, JP, cliche all you want, and I will return the blushes by commenting on your luscious red lips ;-)

J Perry Stone said...

Oh, dear Lord, my lips, Lacey.

I'm not sure if you know this, but I use red lipstick as a kind of security blanket because I'm insecure about my teeth (the front two are fake; crashed into pavement when I was 9; tomboy youth).

Anyway, the red makes them look better.

So guess who forgot her makeup at home and had to scrounge around Walgreens for shappy substitutes at 6:30 the next morning?

I ended up pitching to Kate Duffy with bright purple lips.

I looked sick ... and goth.


Let us know how you did at the conference, though. I mean it when I say I'm toasting you.

I'm doing it right now!!

Darcy Burke said...

J, you crack me up. Your lips weren't purple! They weren't red, but it wasn't Goth either! What color was that, Crotch Sniffler? ;-)

Great post Lacey! Not sure I've ever crashed anything, but man, I'd sure like to.

J Perry Stone said...

Darcy said: "What color was that, Crotch Sniffler? ;-)"

You're in deep doo doo, Darcy ... only until I hear you used your shoes!

India Carolina said...

So I'm thinking Darcy and I could have used you in the bar in Atlanta. We went to the bar. But we chatted each other up, while a bigtime editor sat right across the way. We invited J Perry but you know how she feels about crotch sniffing.

To our credit, we did chat said bigtime editor up (well mostly Darcy did and I tagged along) in a nonbar context.

Glad you had fun at the Emerald City gig!

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens