karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

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First contact?

I recently blogged on whether it was better to look for an agent first, or an editor. Unless you write short stories, I vote for the agent, but plenty of folks still want to go direct. And if you do write short stories, then of course you need to aim for the editor because agents don't generally handle short stories.

In a Google search for something else, I stumbled over an online article about how to meet editors at science fiction and fantasy conventions. Although it has some very good advice about networking—know the editors names before you get there, volunteer at the con to increase chances of meeting editors—I have to say I disagree with some of the specifics, such as there's "no dress code" at conventions. I've never seen a pro in costume at a con. It's an unwritten rule. Fans dress up, if they like, but pros never go beyond Hawaiian shirts or exotic shawls, or maybe tie-dye. I happen to think that if you want to be a professional, you should dress like one.

I also have to disagree with the advice to bring your m.s. and keep it in your hotel room, just in case. Think about it. Editors attend cons to have fun, to network, and to represent their houses or magazines. They won't have to time to read your story at the con, and why would they want to schlep it home? Also, they could well lose it on a plane or leave it in the hotel room. It seems to me the best thing is to bring a card, as the article recommends, give that to the editor, but don't even suggest handing over the m.s. Instead wait until you get home and then promptly send your story to the editor with a letter reminding them of the meeting. Then they've got it where they need it.

But most of all I disagree with this statement:

Use whatever tools you wish to get positive attention. If you're a pretty girl, male editors will remember your chain mail bikini. Guys are better off being a little more t-shirt-and-jeans.

Excuse me? The thing is, what will you be remembered for? Also, a lot of editors are women. Being known for wearing a chain mail bikini is not my idea of positive attention for a writer, even if she's stacked to high heaven.
Tags: conventions, editors, writing

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