Sunday, June 13, 2010

Long Island RWA Luncheon with Editors & Agents

The Inn at Fox Hollow in Woodbury, NY, a gorgeous restaurant and hotel on Long Island’s north shore, was the venue for Long Island Romance Writer’s Luncheon on June 11th. This was my first year and I rode with my friend Diane Sismour—she drove, I navigated. If you’ve ever tried driving around NYC and you’re not familiar with the area, it’s quite an adventure. Diane’s GPS kept getting lost. Too many parallel roads, I guess. It kept saying, “Recalculating trip,” or something. Diane finally said, “Oh, shut up, Lucy,” and switched it off. With Mapquest directions and a NYC map, I kept Diane in the correct lane, watched for signs and exits. And there are a lot of signs, last minute exits and a thousand trucks. It’s a two-person journey if you aren’t familiar with the area. NYC is insane.

From Pennsylvania, the drive should’ve taken less than 2 ½ hours. We were delayed by an accident on the LI Expressway (why unearth do they call it an Expressway, it should be the LI Parking lot). Four hours later we arrived, only a few minutes late. The luncheon with about a hundred people was already in full swing.

Check the link for the list of editors and agents who attended. There were about a dozen agents and around eight editors.

Diane and I got our badges, bought raffle tickets for the baskets and found a table. But we didn’t sit. We skipped the hors d’oeuvres and dove right into the mingling with a stack of business cards and a pen in hand. The editors had a purple dot on their badges and the agents had a red dot, so you wandered around checking out badges and deciding who you wanted to talk to. I had my list in hand, with an elevator pitch (a two or three line pitch with the title and genre of my book).

Usually, I’m fairly shy in groups like this, but I didn’t have time to worry about that. After the four-hour drive, I wasn’t going to go back without making some contacts. I had a number of pleasant conversations with writers, editors and agents. I introduced myself, asked a question or two, asked if they were looking for such and such (the subgenre of my book), gave them the title, told them more if they seemed interested. If they were, I asked for a business card. I'm sure next time, it'll be a little easier. The editors and agents were very gracious. They patiently listened to the pitches—a ton of them—shared information and were very receptive to talk about the latest in the publishing world.

Their guest speaker was Steven Zacharius, President of Kensington Books. Obviously, he’s a man who loves his job and has great enthusiasm and a positive outlook for the future of the publishing world. He talked about the history of Kensington, how he got started in publishing, and how Kensington was adapting to the changes in the marketplace, especially with ebooks and ereaders growing in popularity.

I highly, highly recommend going to the luncheon. Well worth going. Thank you to the members of the LIRW group for putting on an awesome function.


Amber Skyze said...

Sounds like a good time. Hope you get what you were looking for from it! :)

Cris Anson said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Kathy. I don't envy anyone driving through NYC and into Long Island, but it sounds like every minute on the road was worth it.

Penelope Marzec said...

I went to the luncheon several years ago. Driving out to LI from NJ after the morning rush hour was a breeze. However, coming back was horrendous. It took four hours--with bumper to bumper traffic on the Belt Parkway.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful luncheon--and the ratio of agents and editors to authors is truly unbeatable.

Donna Coe-Velleman said...

Thank you Kathy for your praise of our event. It's much appreciated. The ladies of the luncheon committee worked hard to put it together and then had to cross their fingers, hoping everything came off as planned. I'm sure they'll be happy to hear you felt it was worthwhile.

Good luck with your submissions! Hopefully we'll see you next year.

President of LIRW

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks Amber. It's a unique way to network and meet industry professionals.
Hey Cris, Yes, I think it's well worth the trip. Even considering the hike from PA.
Hi Penelope, The drive back wasn't quite as bad and I treated the driver to dinner.:)
Hi Donna, LIRW did a fabulous job. A gorgeous place to have it too.