Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pucker Up, Buttercup!

Brace yourselves, Effies!

The reports from RWA's National Conference are going to be a mixed bag, and the bags are due home in a couple of days.

What do I foresee in the mix?

I suspect the usual report of writer's and VIP's trying to keep a stiff upper lip in the economy. I expect the true and worthy advice about making sure your product is absolutely perfect if you expect to sell in these choppy industry waters, and I expect some desperate celebrations on the popularity of romance novels in a depressed society.

But I am guessing that the real juice to be wrung out of the RWA National grapevine is going to make us all pucker.

Newbies are a tough sell. Newbies are going to be THE TOUGHEST SELL this year. It doesn't matter what you write, or how good you are, how many awards you win, or the ever-reliable 'who you know'.

If you are a newbie, with no publishing numbers to set of the mousetrap, you're going to be laying in wait for the dumb luck of a mouse/agent stumbling and flying onto your cocked, but empty trap. And if you get lucky enough to have her at your mercy for a few seconds before she sets off again in search of negotiable cheese, you'd better have a big voice and something pithy to say.

So, my advice to you, before you hear it firsthand, is to brace yourself for bad news, determine whether or not you have what it takes to TAKE THE MOUSE BY THE BALLS, or go the other route and find a palatable exit strategy.

It can all be summed up with one of my favorite lines from The Shawshank Redemption, "You gotta get busy livin', or get busy dyin'."

To those of you queuing up for the River Stix Tour, I bid you a fond farewell. To those of you who decide to stand upon the battlements with me, I've got your back.



Melissa Mayhue said...

Hey, Ainsley... I just returned from National. And...I didn't hear that's it's any harder for Newbies than it's ever been. [Truth of the matter - could it actually GET any harder???] ;-)

The key is still all about writing a story and getting it to the person who GETS your voice. Of course THAT is the tricky part, isn't it? Finding that person.

Hang in there...keep writing!

~ Melissa

Cathy Miller said...

Ainsley, I imagine a key conponent in catching the attention of that elusive agent is to have something "different" in the query/pitch that piques their interest. (That it is a good story and well written are givens here.)