Again we find ourselves here readers, looking back on the Tucson Festival of Books from the perspective of Kristin. Now, I know you’re all dying to know what happened next so just grab your popcorn or the food you snuck into the theatre from McDonalds (we’ve all done it at least once *wink*) and enjoy because here we go again.
From my less than glamorous meeting with Maggie Stiefvater, I didn’t have time to wallow in self-pity or wish for a do-over (that came later), instead I ran across campus again to meet Erin Quinn at her tent, which also went swimmingly. I huffed up to her tent and she recognized me (I was relieved at that much) but the longer I explained why I was late getting to her tent the more I could see a vacant I’m trying to remember why you’re here but it’s just not coming to me-look. Finally, I mentioned the page again and I could see the lightbulb go off. She quickly ushered me over to the opposite corner of the tent where I was introduced to yet another romance author by the name of Shelley Coriell. Again, this was another one of those instances where I did a lot of nodding at terms I’d never heard of and organizations I didn’t know existed.
At one point, Shelley asked me what I like to write. I’d been holding myself back all day from giving anyone my elevator pitch for fear of getting odd looks (which I’ve seen) and monotoned reactions (which I’ve heard). This time, though, I decided I was going to do it and I was going to make it sound like the next big thing. Off I went on my elevator pitch explaining to her what my latest draft was about, feeling rather confident. I even decided to give her a bit more detail when I thought I was actually selling it until she gave me one of those polite nods that translated into stop-talking-now and she said, “Paranormal fiction, then,” and continued on to give me more information.
I’ll be totally honest. I’d never heard of paranormal fiction until I went to this book festival. The entire time I was listening to people talk about what fell into this category I imagined the Ghost Busters running around zapping green globs out of the sky.
In all fairness, I’m on quite the learning curve. There are things that I learned over just that one day that would have taken me months to finally research out on my own. It was educational. Want to know what else it was? A friggin’ brick slap to the brain.
After my conversation with Shelley I ran off, yet again, to another class. The next one I attended was one called Power and Intrigue in Fantasy Worlds which featured Shannon Messenger, Aprilynne Pike, and once again the one and only Maggie Stiefvater. Having learned my lesson from the previous event that I missed called 20 Ways NOT to Write Your First Book due to lack of seating I made sure to get there earlier. While waiting in line, the girl who mentioned a “plan B” to me from earlier that morning walked by me and waved. I gave her a polite acknowledgment in return and then went back to standing in between two separate groups of teenagers who were all conversing amongst themselves. After a few more minutes of feeling lame for being the only one not talking to someone, I asked one of the groups to hold my spot for me while I walked to the back of the line and found “plan B” girl again. We reintroduced ourselves and I asked her if she’d like to get a better seat and join me at the front of the line. To my relief she was grateful at my gesture and didn’t think I was some psychopath.
Finally, we were let in and grabbed decent seats. As I talked to Amber (plan-B girl), we both talked about our writing journeys and the struggles we’d faced along the way. It was relieving to talk to someone who was still in the beginning stages like I was instead of talking to her over a table of all of her already published works.
As the forum went on, Aprilynne Pike mentioned something that stuck with me, “I had my first published book while my husband was in law school. You can do it on any kind of budget really.”
Something some of you may or may not already know about me is that my husband is in law school right now. And we’re poor as church mice. Independent publishing has intimidated me for this reason alone. I’ve read many articles that it takes MONEY to get this done. You’re doing everything yourself on this level from marketing, book cover design, editing, and all the way down to raising your own money for it. Ummm, no thank you. So when Aprilynne made this comment, I immediately knew I wanted to talk to her afterwards. And this time I wasn’t going to give a dead fish handshake.
After the forum, I put on my big girl undies (figuratively speaking) and marched my way up to the front so I could introduce myself to her.
To my absolute relief, she wasn’t at all concerned that I was asking to e-mail her. I hadn’t even finished the sentence of requesting to correspond with her before she was already spatting off her e-mail address to me. YAY!!!
Tucson Festival of Books-139 Kristin-1
The last and final event I went to was a class called Dealing with Criticism as an Author by Bill Konigsberg. I chose this class over going to a Workshop called From Query Letter to Contract. Both enticed me. Both sounded like things that I should know. I did go to the workshop first but bailed out at the last minute to make it in time to the other class. Another lady I met in the workshop said she’d take notes for me and e-mail them to me later on. I still have yet to see those beloved notes and I fear they may be lost forever.
The majority of the criticism class was a Q and A directed by Bill. Most people asked very compelling questions about criticism and other things relating to their works. Feeling confident (here we go again), I decided that I would ask a question of my own. I straightened up in my chair and raised my hand. When called on I asked a very strong first question about who to allow to criticize your work before you’re even ready for querying and so on. Then I got cocky…
“What’s your opinion on beta readers?” I asked still not even really knowing what a beta is. Bill looked at me for a half second seeming to be waiting for me to expound, but I had nothing to expound on because *whispers* I didn’t actually know what I was talking about. He gave me a short and sweet answer, probably to mirror my short and sweet question.
I was approached by a couple of other authors (yes, published authors came to talk to me at the end) and they asked me to join them in their writing workshops. Ok, I made that last part up. I was approached by one published author who gave me great suggestions on where to find people who could help me edit my work. She was so helpful and willing to give me tips, which I greatly appreciated, although I never caught her name.
So there I was, sunburned, tired, sick of cough drops, and ready to just lay on the couch and not think for more than ten minutes. But I’d do it all over again 🙂
Until next time readers (I think there may be three of you now).