Friday, October 22, 2010

But They're Scary People! or, Authors and Editors and Publishers, Oh My!

(Posted live from MileHiCon)

Confession time.

I'm petrified of meeting authors, editors, and publishers in person.

I'm always terrified that I'll do or say something that will mark me forever as one of the biggest idiots to ever inhabit the planet. And that, once having done that, I will then have to locate the nearest rock and take up residence beneath it.

I don't know why I'm so convinced of that. Because my usual reaction to meeting a celebrity of any sort is to clam up and say nothing at all. I become completely tongue-tied and can't ever seem to manage anything more profound than "Hi" and "It was nice meeting you."

Last year at MileHiCon, they held an Author Meet & Greet in the bar. Aspiring authors were invited to come and rub shoulders with the pros, discuss their current projects,, and just hang out and chat.

I think I said about four words the whole time. And was terrified that someone would talk to me.

I know it doesn't make sense. I know that most authors and publishers are nice people. That doesn't seem to make them any less scary.

So it might surprise you to learn that I'm currently sitting at a table next to a small press publisher, and chatting casually, just like we were friends. And we sort of are. We've chatted at conventions a couple of times. Also, my husband went to high school with him.

And on Fridays, he runs #scifichat on Twitter, which I often pop in on over my lunch hour. So as I walked past, I mentioned it, and he invited me to pull up a chair and take part in the last few minutes of it.

Naturally, my first reaction was to run screaming. Obviously I didn't do that. Instead, I took a deep breath and said, "Sure!"

I seem to have lived through it. I wonder if that means I'll have enough guts to do more than say "Hi" and "nice meeting you" at the author meet & greet tonight? Perhaps I should make that a goal for this convention -- to actually talk to people more. Okay, maybe I've already achieved that goal -- I've already spoken with several people in the past hour who aren't people I know well. (This is unusual for a shy person like me.)

One thing that I've found does help are social networks. After I've chatted with people on Facebook and Twitter, they're not nearly so scary. Some of them are quite friendly, in fact. I had a bit of a chat with an author on LiveJournal this week -- about the preserving of apple pie filling, and how to can it successfully.

Okay, time to run along and see if my help is needed at the registration table yet. If not, I'm going to go grab my suitcase and lug it up to my room. And then see what kind of trouble I can get in.