Wednesday, July 16, 2008

RWA: To Do or Not To Do

Everybody in the universe is writing about what you should definitely do once and many times over and what for heaven's sake you shouldn't do ever. The passing of your manuscript under the stall door to the editor while she's doing her business falls in the latter category. Hiding in your hotel room by your lonesome also falls in that group. However, hanging out at the bar and being the life of the party (so long as you don't dance across the table-top or accost an agent in the restroom) is very much in the former category.

If any of the following pictures apply to how you feel about National, then my super sekret tips, that you'll find nowhere else, guaranteed, are for you.

1. Spanx, Body Glide, and you are going to be close intimate friends by the time the Awards Night is over. Body Glide will prevent bandaged, blistered feet you have to hobble on. If you must use a band-aid, use moleskin. It stays on better and will not cause another blister. Spanx and Flexees for the obvious reason—containing those bulging pounds you'd written into your new year's resolutions.

2. The bathroom becomes the bottle-neck to getting you to events on time, if you're sharing a room. So, if you can fit it in, bring a hair dryer, or a dry shampoo for those events when you don't have time to wash, blow-dry, and style hair.

3. Hotels set their air-conditioning to stun to prevent the proliferation of body odor. Weather in San Francisco is changeable and on the cooler side. So, prepared to be dressed in layers. A jacket, sweater, or a shawl works well in most cases.

4. Carry a small water bottle. The air-conditioning can also dry out your eyes, sinuses, and throat. If you wear contacts, carry a spare pair and your glasses. Wearing the latter is better than not seeing.

5. Don't forget an under-eye concealer and an acne buster, if you have the tendency to break out from stress, lack of sleep, and make-up.

6. Attend a workshop given by an agent or an editor. Don't approach them at the close of the workshop when every person sitting on the panel gets mobbed. Wait for an opportunity to present itself later. When that happens, walk up to her and say, "I attended your workshop this morning." Then you can follow it up with a "thank you for giving it" or "this is what I learned" or "I have a question that I hope you could answer." This gets the ball rolling, allows you to connect, and then the opening is there if you want it. I used sentence number one. It didn't get me a contract, but it got me over the fear of this agent as an entity. She was warm and personable.

7. And here's the lucky seventh tip: Have fun. Sounds obvious doesn't it? But, is it on your schedule? No, I didn't think so. Last year, I was so grimly determined to make every possible workshop I could, I trotted to and fro rooms missing people everywhere. They later reported, I was being a devoted student. Perhaps. But I was being a poor networker. After all, what's more important? You can buy the tapes. You won't have the chance to relax and share a few laughs with people for another year.

Cinderella's ShoesHow many pairs of shoes (22, if you're Tawny, pounds that is) are you taking? Do you think everything that you need to take and bring back will fit in one suitcase? How do you recognize an agent or an editor at the bar? Most rarely choose to wear their badges?


Trish Milburn said...

Great tips, Keira. Thanks especially for the BodyGlide mention. I was trying to explain what I needed at Wal-Mart the other day and I didn't know what it was called. Didn't matter. They didn't have it anyway. Will check the drugstore.

jo robertson said...

Great advice for the conference, Kiera! #7 is big on my list this year. I want to have fun, fun, fun. Some of us Banditas are meeting in real, face-time and I'm eager for that experience.

And a second to the idea of bringing a sweater or light jacket. SF gets cool in the evenings and near the Wharf, sometimes early morning.

Beth said...

Love the tips, Keira! I use Band Aid's blister block and it works fairly well.

This year I'm determined not to end up with a sinus infection at the end of the conference (you're so right about the air conditioners, plus flying wreaks havok on my sinuses *g*) so I'm bringing saline spray, my meds and drinking plenty of water.

Oh, and I always bring eye drops. Nothing makes you look less perky than bloodshot eyes ;-)

Christine Wells said...

Keira, great tips. It's my first time at National, so I'm soaking up all the insider info I can get. The question of shoes is a vexed one, I admit. I'd bought the cutest summery shoes before I heard what the temperatures were like over there. I'll see how many shoes fit in my suit case but I'm definitely bringing my boots.

Can't wait to meet you and all the Banditas and BBs!

Keira Soleore said...

I'll be back in the afternoon with comments. My daughter's birthday is going to start in a few...

Anna Campbell said...

Keira, great tips. I'd really say to people, I know we're all hermits at heart, but talk to people. You can make some wonderful friends at Nationals. See you SOOOOOOON!