Monday, May 09, 2011

Down and Out in NYC: Sucking It Up More Than Usual

A couple weeks ago I went to Manhattan for a literary networking even which shall be nameless.   The idea was for writers to schmooze with editors and agents to whom they were introduced by "facilitators."  I had a new novel to pitch, and I even wrote down the pitch and rehearsed it.

  We got back to my friend's apartment late due to getting lost between the Cloisters and the subway.  Very lost, but that it another story.   The party was at 5:30, but my experience with this event was that at 5:30 there were only writers talking to other writers and for this I don't need to go to New York. I quickly changed into decent big city clothes including high heels and hied myself across the street too the 5th Avenue bus stop.  Missed two M1 busses waiting for the crossing light but a few minutes later the M4 appeared.  It was  5:40.

Lots of traffic and the bus wasn't making much if any progress until whoppee!  The driver announced that Obama was in town and we were being diverted to Lexington Avenue. I wasn't too worried because my event was closer to Lex anyhow.  Except the traffic didn't move on Lexington, either, and by now I am casting nervous glances at my watch because it is after 6:00.  Then the bus turns back to 5th and I think now we are going somewhere, but where we are going is ACROSS THE PARK to the WEST SIDE!!!

The driver lets some of us out on 5th Avenue and 72nd street and I head across town back to Lexington and start to walk.  Fast.  In high heels.  Pretty soon I have a good pace set that coincides mostly with the Walk Lights, and I make it to 59th and my event.  Out of breath, hair destroyed, sweating slightly, feet hurting, and I am wondering why the hell I am doing this because as a shy person these events are torture, and no one is going to give a rat's ass about the book anyhow.

It's worse than that!  Writer's are still talking to writers, and the agents, most of whom look to be twenty-years-old are talking to other agents and the "facilitators" are talking to each other and that's the way of the literary world.  I didn't know anyone which is unusual.
Got wine, made up on the hors d'oeuvres for missing lunch, talked to somebody I didn't know, finally found someone I did who said the agents had left early.  Merde.

Decided to take the subway back to Murray Hill.   Earlier in the day we had received two free subway passes, but they needed to be exchanged for "real" ticket, and there was no human employee at 59th and Lexington.  I bought a ticket from the machine and swiped it through the slot and the turnstile did not open.  Swiped the ticket again and got a "ticket no good" message.  Merde again.

Bought another ticket and this one actually worked. Rode uptown and walked crosstown to 5th avenue, having made the great circle route and spent one bus and two subway fares for. . . well, for some hors d'oeuvres and a free glass of red. Maybe not such a bad dea.

This was not so much humiliating but a waste of time and effort and energy.  I told myself at least I got a good workout.  In high heels.  You never want to get a workout in high heels.  Feet are unforgiving.  Every literary disaster whacks nails in my ego and at this point, self-publishing some of these books--by now there are three of them and soon to be four, is beginning to look like a no-brainer.

Sucking it up more than usual,



Lindsay said...

Sorry your trip was such a disaster. Your experience enforces my decision to self-pub.

Steven E. Belanger said...

Having been to a couple of Crimebakes, I did what I needed to do: I made enough agent contacts to send them partials and complete Mss.--which didn't end up getting me any offers for representation, but boy did I learn A LOT. (You were right to memorize your pitch. It's all about a killer pitch and killer first few pages, excuse the pun.) But the other important thing to do is to reinforce those contacts so that you can send them--or pitch them--your next completed work. Those agent conferences are for pitching your work--then, and afterwards. Mostly afterwards.