A few weeks ago I mentioned that I'd been to New York, and I'm finally getting around to posting about it. I was at the PASIC conference, a published romance chapter event that concentrates on the business aspect of writing. Of course, since this was in New York, my friends and I had to take advantage of everything else the city has to offer, so here's a run down of my week....
Editor and Publishing House "Touch Bases"
On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to visit the Penguin offices, where I met with people in marketing and PR, as well as had lunch with my editor, Ginjer Buchanan. I filmed a little Q&A session that should show up online at some point and got some really good tips about how to do more efficient promo. On Monday, I got to have breakfast with my Silhouette editor, Susan Litman, and I can't tell you how much I love just chatting away about personal things with my editors. We never have time to do that day-to-day.
Basically, I would say that meeting with editors and in-house personnel was worth the entire cost of the trip, right here.
The PASIC conference is also well worth the investment though. It's a smaller conference as far as writer attendance goes, but a lot of industry professionals show up to the events, which means the writer has a great chance of getting quality face time with editors, agents, and other professionals. The conference starts out with a cocktail party on Thursday, and I think the ratio of writer-to-professional was about 3 authors to 1 professional. In other words, networking is much easier with these odds, and the mood is far more laid back than with other conferences.
On a personal note, I lost my voice, and I was unable to talk for most of the conference. I was so frustrated at not being able to communicate proficiently that I stayed back from the cocktail party this year. :(
Friday is "professional day," where those editors, agents, and gurus come to share their expertise with the writers. I was surprised at the big message this year: in spite of the economy, romance is flourishing, so instead of getting all these gloom and doom forecasts, the energy was pretty optimistic. (Lately, you've probably seen how the media has taken this romance-is-doing-very-well message and run with it.) On Saturday, the focus tuns to writer-to-writer sharing, so we got to hear advice from fellow authors about everything from promotion tips to sanity tips to what to expect if your book is ever optioned by Hollywood.
All the while, there's ample opportunity to meet new friends and catch up with the old. As we know, that's one of the best parts of any conference but, again, the atmosphere here is so relatively relaxed that "networking" doesn't seem like business as much as fun.
As a published author, anywhere you go is fair game for stock signings. I hit some stores on Monday, chatting with booksellers and signing the books they had on hand. You can get a basic read on how your books are moving and how many are being stocked, and this is a good opportunity to ask if the stores have "vampire book readers." Oftentimes, sellers will handsell your books if they can put a face to the covers.
I have to take this opportunity to share that, during every one of my New York trips, I have certain "favorite things to do." One of them is to have Blue Fin martinis at the W in Times Square. Yum. The other is to eat at Perilla in the Village. This is the restaurant run by "Harold, the first season TOP CHEF winner." I had one of the top five meals of my life there this last time. (Gnudi--I think that's the name--with truffle sauce. Good heavens.)
No trip to NY is complete with seeing at least a couple of plays or musicals. This time, we caught two plays. The first was 33 VARIATIONS, with Jane Fonda, Samantha Mathis, and Colin Hanks. The plot concerns a musicologist who's obsessed with one of Beethoven's works, but to me, at least, it was a ruminaton about how at any given time when you approach a work (even your own), it can vary wildly from the last time you approached it. The play was about "becoming," and driving toward an end, and making beauty out of the typical. The second play we saw (this time with my previous Silhouette editor Kim Nadelson--hey, Kim!) was BLITHE SPIRIT. It was much lighter than 33 VARIATIONS, but seeing Ruprett Everett and Angela Lansbury in action was exciting.
Ah, New York.