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How Not to Suck at a Writers Conference

By Harriet Staff

From author Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terrible Minds, a s**tstorm of tips on how not to completely suck at a writer’s conference. Some highlights:

#6 – You Should Totally Say Hello to Your Favorite Writers: I speak as a writer who is deliriously excited when a reader (or for me the rara avis, a “fan”) comes up and says hello. Not only does it stroke my constantly inflating-and-deflating ego (it’s like the lungs of a tired old horse, I swear), but it also confirms that, hey, this thing I’m doing is actually reaching people. I know some writers — er, really, “authors” — don’t want anyone to come say ‘boo’ to them, but you know what? F*** them. That’s fine for like, the grocery store, but they’re at a con. If you’re a pro at one of these things, appreciate your readers, don’t elbow them in the neck and shove past. Readers are how we get to exist.

#7 – But Seriously, Don’t Be a F***ing Weirdo About It: Okay, yes, go say hello to your favorite writermonkeys. But, hey, also? Don’t be a crazy-pants asshole about it. Don’t dominate their time. Don’t get pushy. Don’t be rude. Don’t be mean. Don’t cling like a dingleberry. Don’t challenge them about typos or plot points. Let them eat in peace. Let them pee in peace. Let them sleep in peace. (Everything else is probably fair game.) You want them to respect you so you have to respect them in turn. That’s the human contract. That’s how we all win the game is by being respectful to one another instead of just splashing douche into each other’s eyes again and again.

#11 – You’re Not Actually the Expert: Pet peeve time! Unless you’re actually on the panel, assume you’re not the expert in the room. It is not your time to shine, you crazy diamond. Ask questions, but let other people ask questions, too. And also: don’t be “that guy” who just raises his hand and then stands up and makes a statement like everyone’s here to see you. “Well, I think the state of space opera is blibbedy-blobbedy-bloo and I disagree with…” HOLY CRAP SHUT UP. This is not an Internet forum, Selfish Guy. You don’t have to enlighten us with your “genius.”

There’s a lot more where that came from. Check it out here.

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Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.