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Fear for Breakfast???

I love the smell of fear in the morning. Just kiddin’. Conference time again. I gotta tell y’all, don’t be so worried about your appointments with agents and editors. I know it’s hard to believe, but we aren’t out to get ya. Some of us are even nice. Yes, there are a few pompous people. But being pompous, they don’t take appointments, so you won’t be meeting with them.

Here’s a tip for a stress-lessened (I’m not fool enough to write ‘stress-free’) experience.

Dress for the job ya want, not the one ya have. Don’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 don’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 don’t care if they’re a dark wash) and tennis shoes (I don’t wanna hear your feet hurt) for going to the movies. Don’t show up looking like a “hobby writer.” I took some flack for saying this (One person even wrote me that I was arrogant! Imagine … me … arrogant. Nope, I can’t imagine it.), but my intention is to help, not hurt. Sure, some industry professionals don’t care what you wear, but unless you know who they are, why chance it? People, there’s a line longer than my crow’s feet waitin’ behind you to snag your spot. Wanna give it to ‘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, she’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. I’m lookin’ for authors, not manuscripts. From the way she treated her appointment with me, to the clean manuscript, I knew she’d be a great self-promoter, which I look for. If you can’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 didn’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 what’s called a “late-nite chat” at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September, and I hope to see some of ya there.

Remember, it’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, “Hey, I’ll make a great addition to your family!” (Hope so!)

Kelly Mortimer

www.mortimerliterary.com www.perilsofpublishing.com

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