Tuesday, November 21, 2006

SFWA Mill 'n Swill

Last night I headed back to the big city for some more book industry schmoozing...

The Event: SFWA New York Publishers Reception, a.k.a. the Mill 'n Swill. (Now that I'm a SFWA member, I'm legitimately invited to this shindig and don't have to rely on kind souls to take pity on me and let me come as their guest.)

The Location: Society of Illustrators, a.k.a. cool Manhattan place with much cool art on the walls.

The Invited Guests: Lots and lots of editors, agents, writers, and others associated with science fiction and fantasy publishing. And moi.

The Outfit: Black skirt, black camisole, purple sheer-ish top (same color as my cover art -- I swear it was a coincidence), and my lucky INTO THE WILD bracelet (see WFC trip report).

The Pre-Event Dinner: Sarabeth's. Love this restaurant, even though it's spelled without an "h". Best tomato soup ever. I also had baked brie. Yes, I ordered only appetizers. I have a thing for cute food.

The Book I Read on the Train: WOLF CAPTURED by Jane Lindskold. Best book of the Firekeeper series (which are my favorite human-raised-by-wolves books). Read it. Love it. Hug your inner wolf.

The Schmoozing: My evening went pretty much like this...

Famous author: "Hi. Nice to meet you. How are you?"

Me: "I'm getting published!"

Important magazine editor: "Hi, Sarah. So what's new with you?"

Me: "I'm getting published!"

Influential book editor: "Where's the bathroom?"

Me: "I'm getting published!"

I like to think I was a bit more articulate than that, but I do have to admit that when I walked in through the door and saw the room was chockfull of editors and big-name authors and so forth, I froze like the cliched deer in headlights. The moment probably only lasted 30 seconds, but it felt like 30 minutes. I very nearly turned and bolted. But then Liesa Abrams (editor at Aladdin/S&S) rescued me -- thank you, Liesa! -- and from that point on I was milling and swilling like a pro. I talked to lots of cool people, including the fabulous Delia Sherman (author of THE CHANGELING, one of my favorite books of the year), the always-sweet Sean Fodera (contracts manager at Holtzbrinck and SF writer), the brilliant Ginjer Buchanan (editor at Ace), and the very cool and phenomenally-talented couple, Holly Black and Theo Black (Holly is the author of TITHE and THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES, and Theo is an artist who designs drool-worthy websites like that of Melissa Marr).

I got to say hello to Gordon Van Gelder (the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction), Lucienne Diver (agent at Spectrum Literary Agency), Rachel Vater (agent at Lowenstein and Yost), Steve Saffel (Del Rey editor), Stanley Schmidt (Analog magazine), Diane Turnshek (SFWA Eastern Regional Director), Carol Burrell (of Children's Book Council), and lots of really cool writers. My only regret is that I never really got a chance to chat for more than 30 seconds with Keith DeCandido and Terri Osborne, authors who I've known for years now, having met at various conventions. Every time I was milling, they were swilling, and when I was swilling ... well you see where this is going. Next time.

Anyway, the point of all this name-dropping is: I didn't turn and bolt. It was terrifying when I walked in the door and saw no one I knew, but I stayed and it was fabulous. Guess that's the moral of not just this post but my entire blog: if something matters to you, don't turn and bolt. Stay. Just stay.


At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Carol Burrell said...

It was really nice meeting you and having someone to walk around with to help me feel a little less lost. Thanks to you and Delia, I didn't turn and bolt, myself. I visited your website to find out more about INTO THE WILD, and I cannot wait to read this book. Seriously, I am fidgeting with impatience. I hope it's a huge success for you, and the first of many.

I hope to get a chance to speak with you again some time when we can actually hear each other speak--somewhere in the various science fiction/fantasy and children's book and Children's Book Council events that fill an author's glittering life (more weird hors d'oeuvres, weird wine, and... very nice people!).

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Thanks so much, Carol! It was great to meet you too. Definitely one of the highlights of the evening. :)

Hope to see you again soon, and hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

- Sarah

At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved all the name dropping. I would love to have met those people, esp. Rachel Vater. I got one of my kindest rejections from her. Uh, that's not an oxymoron is it?

Just wanted to stop by and check out your site.

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Hi, Clover! Nice to see you here. Thanks for dropping by!

- Sarah

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Diane Turnshek said...

Hi, Sarah,
I namedrop on my live journal all the time--I have an ulterior motive. My google alert is set to report to me whenever my full name is mentioned on the 'net. I saw that alert even before you wrote me and told me the url to your blog. So, I'm hoping that other authors, editors, agents do the same, and end up finding my lj.

Last year, I wrote a long Forum report of the evening, trying to explain how attending the SFWA New York Publishers Reception frequently nets an author unexpected positive results. It's more than the sum of its parts. I'm glad you had a good time--glad you stuck it out.

I'm happy that I made a new friend.


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