During his pre-convention marketing workshop Mark Leslie spoke about serendipity and creating the opportunity to make connections by attending things like conventions and festivals. The whole time he was talking about it I was just nodding along with him. Every time I’ve attended a convention-type-thing I’ve met new people and made new friends and connections. Attending When Words Collide last weekend was no exception.
I met Laura VanArendonk Baugh and Adria Laycraft who have stories in Fae, Leslie and Megan who I’ve connected with online for what feels like forever but is actually closer to a few months, people I share tables of contents with, publishers who’ve believed in my work enough to include it in their titles, local writers who I somehow hadn’t managed to connect with before and lots of other new people (readers, writers, editors, marketers… the list goes on and on…).
And I got to re-connect with people who I only get to see at events like this.
Also? I got to have conversations like these (vagueified–which should totally be a word–anonymized and paraphrased):
Him: Can I see your tattoo?
Me: Blah blah blah… as you can see I like corvidae. In fact, I’m editing an anthology called Corvidae, and a companion anthology entitled Scarecrow.
Him: I have a scarecrow story, how would I send that to you?
Me: I’ve always wanted to write a book about THIS THING which totally falls into the same category as a lot of your work but I lack the expertise and there never seems to be enough time in the day.
Him: Do you want to write it together?
Me: Uh, lemmethinkaboutthat–YES^
Friend: Oh my god! After that panel where part of my story was read I was approached by a publisher and asked to submit!
(Note: When awesome things like this happen to your friends, it’s almost as cool as when they happen to you. It’s amazing to be there in person to help them celebrate.)
Me: I can’t wait to read your book, when does it come out?
Her: *tells me*
Me: I don’t know if I can wait that long. Do you need blurbs? If I like it as much as I think I will…
Her: Oh, that would be great. I hate asking people for blurbs!
Awesomesauce Editor, after reading & marking up the opening to Hollow^: I like this. I really like this. Close your eyes and listen to this *reads my (edited) story back to me*
Me: Wow. I didn’t know I could write that well!
Post on Facebook: Rhonda! The dealer’s room is sold out of copies of Fae, do you have any more?^
A couple different people (!!): Rhonda Parrish? I’ve heard of you… (and they didn’t mean in a bad way LoL)
Me, right before my first panel ever in life: Dude, I’m really, really, really nervous.
Fellow Panelist, who is awesome #1: Come sit over here beside me.
Me, after being on my first panel ever in life: Oh man! I made it through and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even say anything stupid! (my goal for every panel was just not to say something stupid. I think I only failed once LoL)
Fellow Panelist, who is awesome #2: You were great. Hugs!
My point? Conventions rock. I’ve never regretted attending one, and I had an especially awesome time at When Words Collide. Such a good time, in fact, that I’m already registered to attend it again next year. Maybe I’ll see you there?
^more on this later or much later as is appropriate given the subject