I love the smell of fear in the morning. Just kiddinâ€™. Conference time again. I gotta tell yâ€™all, donâ€™t be so worried about your appointments with agents and editors. I know itâ€™s hard to believe, but we arenâ€™t out to get ya. Some of us are even nice. Yes, there are a few pompous people. But being pompous, they donâ€™t take appointments, so you wonâ€™t be meeting with them.
Hereâ€™s a tip for a stress-lessened (Iâ€™m not fool enough to write â€˜stress-freeâ€™) experience.
Dress for the job ya want, not the one ya have. Donâ€™t know about you, but when I write, I slap my rear in the chair wearing sweats or comfy shorts. When I meet prospective clients, I dress nicely. No, you donâ€™t need an expensive suit. Just wear something up-to-date (newsflash: squeaky polyester is out). Slacks or a skirt, nice blouse, jacket optional. Stick to neutral tones and add a touch of pizzazz (always in style) by way of accessories to show your personality and some color.
Save your jeans (I donâ€™t care if theyâ€™re a dark wash) and tennis shoes (I donâ€™t wanna hear your feet hurt) for going to the movies. Donâ€™t show up looking like a â€œhobby writer.â€ I took some flack for saying this (One person even wrote me that I was arrogant! Imagine â€¦ me â€¦ arrogant. Nope, I canâ€™t imagine it.), but my intention is to help, not hurt. Sure, some industry professionals donâ€™t care what you wear, but unless you know who they are, why chance it? People, thereâ€™s a line longer than my crowâ€™s feet waitinâ€™ behind you to snag your spot. Wanna give it to â€˜em? Take every advantage you can.
I recently went to a small conference. A young lady (to me, young is early forties, but for clarification, sheâ€™s in her twenties) showed up in a nice suit, hair neatly swept back, and acted in a professional manner. When her partial came, I noted how clean it was (mechanics-wise). This was her first effort, and she blew me away with her level of competency in that area. Buuut, the story had no hook. Instead of an outright no, I asked her to find a hook and resubmit. Iâ€™m lookinâ€™ for authors, not manuscripts. From the way she treated her appointment with me, to the clean manuscript, I knew sheâ€™d be a great self-promoter, which I look for. If you canâ€™t look professional for a meeting with me, how will you look when you do a book signing?
The Romance Writers of America conference is at the end of this month. Unfortunately, they didnâ€™t ask me to give my Bleak to Chic: How to Dress for Success workshop. Sigh. Even us agents get rejected. I will be giving whatâ€™s called a â€œlate-nite chatâ€ at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September, and I hope to see some of ya there.
Remember, itâ€™s not only about impressing someone, but impressing yourself. When you look better, you feel better. When you feel better, you exude self-confidence. When you exude self-confidence, you tell me, â€œHey, Iâ€™ll make a great addition to your family!â€ (Hope so!)