Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Terri Does Dallas :)

As of tomorrow morning (early), I'll be off to the "Signature Of Success" conference in Dallas, Texas. It will be a dizzying round of meetings, workshops and parties, for which I haven't even begun to pack. I'll be having tea with local booksellers, breakfast with my editor, lunch with my agent, mixing with other authors, meeting new people and hanging out with old friends. I can't wait! My agent and I are going to check out a Tex-Asian restaurant recommended by food-diva Rachel Ray, I'll be attending a dessert reception for finalists in the Golden Heart contest, a publisher party at a place with the cool name of Hotel ZaZa, and an agency party at Tucker's. In between all this I'll be attending as many workshops and publisher "spotlights" as I can. Oh, and I'm also on the planning committee for my online chapter, RWAOnline, so I get to be silly and hand out awards at our "Ropin' Romance" party on Wednesday night. Yeehaw!

In addition to all this, I'll be cheering on five of my best buds as they vie for coveted Golden Heart awards (which is RWA's version of the Oscar), given for the best "as-yet-unpublished" manuscripts of the year. Carla, Beth, Anna, Kim and Sheila all deserve one of those beautiful golden heart necklaces, and I can't wait to see who gets one! (Well, Carla already has one, but who can ever have too much jewelry?)

All of this makes me remember the very first RWA conference I went to back in 2001, in New Orleans. I didn't know a soul. A single soul. I didn't know anything about publishing, period, other than what kind of books I liked to read. All I knew was that I wanted to be a writer, and if I was going to accomplish that goal, I needed to educate myself on the industry. I needed to take some workshops, soak up some knowledge, learn the ropes and the whos and the hows and the whats of what it took to get published. I didn't know my POV* from my HEA* or my GMC* from my TMI* (don't you just hate acronyms? They make you feel so stupid). I didn't know how to plot, or how to write a query letter or what the heck a synopsis was (other than a noun that meant a "summary").

Now, six years later, my first novel is less than two months away from showing up on the shelves of major bookstores everywhere. I'm going to be able to walk into Borders, Barnes&Noble, Books-A-Million, Chapters... heck, even Wal-Mart and Target... and see my work on the shelves. It's mindboggling. Right now, I have three books under contract, and several others in the works. I'm truly blessed.

The moral here is that if you want something bad enough, go out and get it. Don't wait for it to come to you. Put in the time, put in the effort, grit your teeth, and go for it. It ain't gonna happen otherwise.

See you when I get back from Dallas!

*Acronyms explained:
POV = Point of view (a character's viewpoint)
HEA = Happily ever after (necessary for romance, not necessary for non-romance)
GMC = Goals, motivation, conflict (always necessary, regardless of genre)
TMI = Too much information (never necessary, also known as "telling" instead of "showing")

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