Thursday, April 22, 2010

'Tis the Season!

Everyone's been giving really good advice this week on how to get the most out of attending conferences!! I especially loved Jess's post. (Really??? Twisting balloons? I had no idea! You are definitely a woman of many talents!! *g*) So what's my advice? Hmm-first let me tell you a little story.

One of the first conferences I ever attended was The Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave in Manhattan Kansas. WITCH WAY TO MURDER had just come out and at that point, I had ONE conference and ONE panel under my belt. Talk about green...grass couldn't be any greener than I was at that point. I didn't know anyone, didn't have a clue what I was doing, and was so outside of my comfort zone it wasn't even funny.

See here's the deal, underneath all the bravado, I'm basically a shy person. Okay, Casey and Angie...I hear you laughing in disbelief, but it's true! When I was a kid and my mom would take me into a room full of strangers, I'd grab her leg and not let go. She would literally have to peel me off! I'm better about it now-don't cling to people's legs anymore-but I still get nervous.

So here I am at this conference, alone and unsure of myself, and there's Carolyn Hart, one of the top mystery authors in this country, one of the founders of Sisters in Crime, someone who's won more awards than I can list, and, well, you get the idea. And though we'd never met, Carolyn had been kind enough to blurb WITCH WAY. I thought it only polite to go up to her, introduce myself, and thank her for her kindness. I screwed up my courage and did exactly that. I also told her how much I admired her work. Guess what her reaction was to the compliment??

She blushed! After everything she's done during her stellar career, a sincere compliment from a little, newbie like me still made her blush. Her reaction couldn't have been less blasé.

What did I learn from this experience? No matter how much you've accomplished, it's still nice to know that someone appreciates your work. And now, being a little less green, I understand Carolyn's reaction. We want you to like us and when you tell us you do, well, it's just the best.

Now here's my advice-don't ever be shy about approaching your favorite authors. Nine chances out of ten, deep down inside, we're probably just as nervous as you are, but it's your kind words that help us allay ours!

To everyone attending conferences this season-have fun! And, again, DON'T be shy!!!

That's it for this week-catch you next!



Casey said...

There is not a chance I believe you've spent one second of your life being shy!!!

See you in Oakmont? For those of you who don't know...Monday, May 3...the Oakmont Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, PA. Fabulous book fair. Lots of authors. Including me and Shirley!

Angie Fox said...

Great post, Shirley. And so true. Although I had to snarf out loud at the you being shy part. I love that, though. It shows that even the Shirleys of the world can start out shy.

Did I tell you I'm going to be Jess's roommate at RT? I get to see the martian balloon twisting first hand.

Jess Granger said...

If you're not careful, I'm going to make you help. :)

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin said...

{thoughtful look}

I don't think I've ever told an author I like their writing without getting nice thank-you in return. I've done that with both friends and strangers. {SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin