So I’ve been busy since last update. Very busy in a very good way.
I’ve been trying to follow some creative advice I received recently–to get more involved in Orlando’s writing community. Isn’t it amazing how blind we are to solutions that seem so obvious after the fact? Well, my world has certainly gotten much brighter within the past week.
I found myself plenty of things to do by checking the local paper and searching Meetup and Goodreads. Like last weekend, I checked out the Orange County Public Library’s annual book sale, where I networked with the volunteer coordinator and bought this:
The book, not the dog.
Then I went to a YA book club, where I met some cool librarians and teachers who are the first people I’ve ever met IRL who’ve read and loved as many young adult books as me. They also unknowingly gave an advanced reader’s copy to an advanced-reader’s-copy-virgin (that’s me), and I held in my excitement and was totally cool about the whole thing even though my head was actually making a noise like, “WEKJRHOIWERKHRRBWFEWROMGGGGG”:
Then I went to a writer’s meetup group, where I mingled with the craziest variety of people I’ve ever seen actively conversing with each other in one room. Writers are all ages, races, sizes, and creeds, and it was uncanny to see that rendered in an IRL display.
Then I attended SpecFic Southeast Convention AKA SF:SE2015 AKA #SFSECHAT & #SFSE2015 on all social media:
Attending this convention was, hands down, the best decision I have made in a while. I’ve attended conventions before (see my post on MegaCon and my tweets on GeekyCon Lit Track [formerly known as LeakyCon Lit Track]) but those had high profile, barely approachable authors and packed panels whereas SF:SE felt like–get ready for a cliche–home. There were way more authors and way more writers but they were contained within a more intimate atmosphere (less than 30 people per panel average). Orson Scott Card was the only author in attendance that I considered high profile/unapproachable. Basically what I’m saying is community involvement/networking was actually possible. Like, I’ve never understood business cards and wristwatches until now. SO. MANY. REVELATIONS.
There’s no way I can summarize everything I learned, so I’m pulling only the best quotes out of the notes I took for this post. If a person isn’t cited, it means I didn’t catch their name so I just included a link to further information on the panel itself.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”Rachel Higginson” link=”http://www.rachelhigginson.com/”]”Nobody can sell your book like you can…If you want [writing] to be a full-time job, treat it like one.”[/pullquote]
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”Alia Luria” link=”http://www.alialuria.com/”]”Your best marketing tool is your next book.”[/pullquote]
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”THE END IS NEAR panel” link=”http://sfse2015.com/workshops-panels-and-awesome-stuff-at-speculative-fiction-southeast-2015/#5″]”Giving up is not the same thing as setting a manuscript to the side.”[/pullquote]
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”SPECULATING ABOUT SHORT FICTION panel” link=”http://sfse2015.com/workshops-panels-and-awesome-stuff-at-speculative-fiction-southeast-2015/#46″]”Short fiction is a story hiding beneath a story, and flash fiction focuses especially on an effect–emotional, moral, or humorous.”[/pullquote]
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”Rebecca Faith” link=”http://rebeccafaitheditorial.com/”]”Query ten agents every two weeks for a year, except in August or December.”[/pullquote]
— Rebecca N. McKinnon (@rnmckinnon) September 27, 2015
I’ll be reaching out to the authors I met soon but not tonight. Haven’t you ever heard cons are exhausting?