There’s a type of person I want to be and one I don’t want to become. It’s a fine tension we walk. On the one hand, going to cons is about business. You’re there to make connections, writers, agents, and editors. Schmoozing is part of the game, they know it, we know it. However, there was a point at a dinner I attended when I had to leave because I thought I had crossed the line and became guilty of name-badging people. When I reduce people to “who are you?” “What can you do for me?” When I become strictly about the climb, strictly about my opportunities, then I’m one step from becoming one of those “stab them in the back, climb their corpse” sort of people.
Dear Newbie Con Networker,
I’m not here to tell you how to go about your business. Okay, I am, but I mean well.
Look, we’ve all been the new person in the business. We’ve all been the anxious fan, the first time con goer, the up and comer looking for a break/someone to notice us, the stranger in the room hoping someone takes interest in us to talk to us. We’ve been there, we get it. People ask favors and many writers want to pay it forward as few get to where they are without the help and support of those who came before them.
But be a human being:
-Hanging around outside a bathroom as you wait your chance to make your move, well, it’s a little creepy. Admittedly, post-BM I am in an idyllic state comparable to Nirvana, however, it’s not the preferred way I’d like to begin a conversation.
-If you give me a book as a “gift” and then ask me for a blurb in the next breath, I’m going to assume the gesture to be what it is. Don’t be surprised if I’m terribly busy whenever you ask me for something.
-For that matter, if you view people as potential transactions, that’s all the relationship you will have with them.
Writing’s a lonely enough pursuit only made moreso if you view colleagues strictly as business contacts and fans as objects to be spammed. Relationships are important, but they should be pursued for their own sake.
Professional Writer Who Already Finds it Hard to Trust People