I honestly spent more of my conference socializing than hovered over a spiral pad taking notes. I hit the couple important workshops I knew wouldn't be taped, then scuttled down to events like the publisher booksignings, eHQ PJ party, the Blaze Birthday Party, and the Nocturne premiere. I brought home 40+ books, so I think between the six of us, about 200 books came back to Huntsville (you lucky blog readers, you!).
Nationals is a roller coaster of emotions. You laugh, you cry at a touching speech, you have ah-ha and oh-no moments, you want to crawl under a rock and die, you fly on cloud 9...its really an exhausting ride, especially for the normally even keeled, like me. I do have to say that I feel a little discouraged after conference each year. I know I should march home and jump onto my computer jazzed up and ready to go. I guess I'm just not the optimist Instigator is. I've been told this is called "Conference Brain Drain."
Honestly, I've returned home with this unshakable sense of impending doom. That something dumb I said or did is about to come crashing down on my head. The weird thing is that I didn't have a bad conference. I'm just waiting for a shoe to drop and trying not to flee in advance of something that isn't going to happen. I've got no claims to psychic abilities, so this is just me being a ninny for the most part.
One thing that didn't help was a publisher spotlight that kind of brought me down. I realized that the line I was targeting was looking for something I'm not sure I can deliver (BTW - these are the people with my book). The editor belabored about what she was looking for and although the playfriends have assured me otherwise, I don't think my manuscripts deliver the feel she's looking for. It may, but it has left me with this nagging sick feeling in my stomach...what if it doesn't? Where will it fit? If not category, then single title? Very few people charge successfully into the single title market without an agent. So what...I need an agent?
Stomach ache number two. I've never given much thought to agents because I've focused primarily on category publishing. Several workshops I went to emphasized the importance of getting the right agent. One that is excited about your work, fits with your personality and will fight for you. They said not to take on an agent just because they agree to represent you. It's hard enough to find an agent at all, much less find the professional equivalent of a soul mate. Now, after struggling to find one, I'm supposed to turn them down because they aren't the best fit?? Great.
So this has brought me back home with a feeling of restlessness and defeat on top of the normal numbness from the neck up. My MS is still up at the publisher awaiting its fate. The conference has made me even more nervous about the fact that I haven't heard anything. If and when a letter comes back, one way or another, I guess I'll progress from there and keep chugging along. I guess that's all any of us can do. In the meantime, if you see me hiding under my desk like an air raid siren is going off, its just me anticpating the worst.
60,750 / 70,000