Josh wrote such a good post about agent/prospective client relationships that I thought I would add my two cents. The editor/prospective author relationship is quite the same. Like Josh, I attend a number of conventions and conferences every year. If I have been invited by a conference to be a guest editor, I usually do some combination of taking pitches, giving critiques, leading workshops, and doing panels. But regardless of that schedule, I make myself available as much as possible to the attendees. That means I hear pitches in the bar or the lobby and I don’t resent that. That is why I have been invited – to take pitches and mingle with the attendees.
But I too have an issue with the perception that editors (and agents) are unapproachable. At least, I don’t think I fall into that category! As Josh noted, we are in this business because we have a passion for it. I want to make offers on books. I want to sign debut authors. I want to sign established authors. I want to publish books that everyone wants to read.
There are two major drawbacks for me when it comes to attending conferences. First, I have to say no to a lot of people. I hate to disappoint, but not every project is for me or for Midnight Ink. Second, the amount of energy it takes to be “on” from 8am to 10pm (ok, usually it’s bar time) is overwhelming. I try to give each person who approaches me my full attention. Because of that, there are times when I need to take a breather, either I go up to my room for a few minutes or retreat to a green room.
Conferences for me are also about meeting other editors and agents. Because I am not in NYC, it’s important for me to cultivate those working relationships. But at the end of the day, I am a book nerd looking to connect with other book nerds and talk about nerdy book things like publishing and writing.
I am excited for Bouchercon. I won’t take too many pitches there because I am somewhat incognito there as opposed to a writer’s conference, but I will be at the bar nonetheless. Talking books, football, and whatever else comes up. Stop by and say hi. I have this Minnesota nice thing going on.