Monday, June 9, 2008

I survived and I learned something too...

So I did my talk last night and I'm happy to report...I'm still alive. I always feel like a stunned mullet during those things and then I can never really remember the details. Everyone looked very serious in the audience - I don't think that thats a good thing. But the question session at the end of my talk went well and then I got given a nice bottle of wine as a thank you which was a pleasant surprise. It took all the strength I had to not open the bottle there and then and empty the entire contents into my very dry mouth. i am saving it for tonight and looking forward to it very much.

I learnt something new last night too. Its better to have someone other then yourself do your press releases. Apparently the media frown on self written releases. We really are a country where you aren't allowed to blow your own horn. Its a little like that whole circular argument of 'can't get a job til i have work experience, can't get work experience til I've had a job'. Until I become interesting who will want to do my press releases. I might have to bribe someone, or pay them - god forbid? Its not like i have a lot of money from my writing for this kind of thing. Promoting mey next two books would probably cost more than i earned for them!

The other thing i learnt last night was how contradictory it all sounds. I advised people on how important it is to follow the rules but then i said don't be afraid to make mistakes. Following the rules is a comfort thing and helps us feel more confident about our submissions. If (like the CNZ application guidelines) you have no structure its harder to compose a professional looking submission. But a mistake won't prevent you getting published. Other things might - is your story idea, and your writing, strong enough? You might not be quite there yet. But making a mistake won't get you black-listed forever. I think you have to work really hard to get a black mark against your name - I hear stories about people who have been incredibly rude, arguing with a publisher about their rejection. I hear stories about obsessive stalking behaviour (i have to confess I'm a borderline stalker but I've been making a real effort to rein myself in). Its a pain really because it makes publishers and agents more coy about dealing with the rest of us. But if you're normal, my advice is not to worry so much. That one spelling mistake on page 23 won't make them say no. That missed full stop on your covering letter won't stop them reading it. If you have 20 missed full stops they might question your grammatical skills but then i would too. Of course its easy for me to say don't worry about all this stuff as i am the classic worrier and quite a big wuss as well. But I'm not afraid to ask the questions anymore, although that doesn't mean i get the answers every time. If Jill Marshall doesn't get the red carpet treatment, i feel lucky if i'm not shown the tradesmans entrance everytime. But i refuse to dilute my ambition. I will keep dreaming of red carpets, real and otherwise.

1 comment:

Nina said...

enjoyed the talk last night. Pleased you like the wine! Cheers,
N