Friday, February 22, 2008

Book Festival

Good Morning everyone, and happy Friday!

It's wet and dreary here, but at least it's almost the weekend, and what a weekend it will be. Tomorrow is the annual SC Book Festival. (Well, technically some of the events start today but...) I try to make it to this festival every year, and it is the closest thing I've ever been to a conference. The festival is geared toward readers not writers, so aside from a handful of pay-per-class master classes, most of the panels are Q&A or Readings. All and all, a good way to rub elbows with some local (and a couple non-local) authors, and hang out with other book-lovers. Always a good thing.

This year I won't be taking any classes, but two years ago, (my first time attending the festival) I did, and that choice made a major impact on what has occurred over the last two years. (Hopefully for the good, but only time will tell. Ask me when I'm 80.) That said, the class itself was only marginally helpful. Sure, I learned a couple things, but the big thing, the life changing thing, was that by attending the class, I was at the festival on Friday, before the official opening. That doesn't sound terribly significant, except that by showing up to the class, I received the program early and learned there was a five page manuscript review by an agent the following day. There was also only a single slot left, and I filled it.

Now, you have to understand something, two years ago I was very green. (I'm probably still--but I like to think I've learned a lot since then.) I'd finished my very first manuscript a couple months before during NaNoWriMo, and by February, I'd only just begun editing. I signed up knowing the MS wasn't ready for the world, but no one else had ever seen it, and I wanted to to see how close I was to being ready--which looking back, is terrible. Today, I'd be...upset...with the idea of someone taking a spot with something they didn't think was ready to be seen, but, like I said, I've changed a lot in the last few years.

Two years ago almost to the day, I printed up my first five pages and sat in the room shaking as I waited for the agent to get to my pages. And I had every reason to shake--she ripped apart most of the pages given to her, and that was only reading the first few paragraphs and moving to the next person. If nothing else, it was very informative.

Then she got to my pages.

She pointed out a couple things, but over all, there were more positive comments then negative. Then she went silent a couple moments as she scanned down the second page. My heart stopped--I was the youngest person in the room by far, and I knew the MS wasn't ready. Had she seen through me? But when she looked up, she asked me to submit a partial!

I almost died on the spot.

The festival also falls on my birthday most years, and that year it did. So, happy birthday me, I was thinking, maybe I'm not a complete hack. The story after that point is long and complicated, and it was another seven or eight months before I ended up signing, but that event was definitely a kick-off point. Not only did it make me plunge into editing, but I also researched everything I could about the publishing industry. All leading me to where I am now--which at the moment I'm not 100% sure where that is besides the rhetorical here. But, it does make the Book Festival a special event for me.

So, have a great weekend everyone--whatever you may be doing! I shall be rubbing elbows with authors and book-lovers, celebrating the anniversary of a shift in my 'career', and at midnight tonight, I will say a final goodbye to the first quarter century of my life. Toodles! ^_^


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry I couldn't be there! I injured my ankle on Thursday, and even though it was better, I couldn't handle driving Saturday.

I really missed it.

:) Misty

Kalayna-Nicole Price said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your ankle Misty! I hope you heal quickly!

The festival was fun (Faith was hilarious and tons of fun to listen to/talk to.) I'm sorry you missed it. I hope you can make it next year!