Sunday, June 14, 2009

Giving Back

On Friday, I went to the Long Island Luncheon, which is a function I've been going to for the last four years. The ladies of the Long Island chapter invite editors and agents to lunch at the Milleridge Inn for a champagne punch cocktail hour, followed by a very nice meal, with raffle baskets from the authors and free books. Each year they select an industry professional to honor and the others who attend have the opportunity to address the attendees to discuss what they're looking for. With at least two industry professionals per table, it's a low-stress, informal way for new writers to whet their whistle at pitching.

Last year, those of us at my table discussed what we were writing, and I mentioned to Deb (who was sitting next to me) that In Over Her Head was in her submission queue. During the luncheon it also count out that I had partials ready for two more Mer stories. Deb immediately asked me about those stories then asked me to send them to her, which I did that following Monday. Within a month the deal was done, so this luncheon obviously has a very special place in my heart.

But the previous years were also wonderful, too. I had the opportunity to make other personal connections with editors and agents, many of which came in handy when I was on the Great Agent Hunt. I've met editors when they were just starting out and it's been fun rising through the ranks along with them. I've made great friends with the Long Island ladies, and always enjoy seeing them again.

So this year I went again to enjoy a wonderful function, as well as take the opportunity to give back. With all those ladies have done for my career, I wanted to do something for them, so I chose a name out of a basket and paid for the winner's registration fee, then I also awarded another person a signed copy of In Over Her Head.

What was amazing to me, was that the Long Island ladies kept coming up to me to thank me. Really - I was thanking them. It's a great opportunity for everyone who goes; honestly I wish I could have given more, but there's only so much water in this well...

You know, they could keep this function a small one, for just their benefit, but they open it up to anyone (first come first serve and there are a limited number of places due to the size of the room) and they work really hard to get as many industry professionals as possible.

So I'll be going back next year, hopefully being able to give back more, and I'll be bringing many of my chaptermates with me - as I did this year. It's a long day, with "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" to get here (okay, not the plane part, but two trains, a car and a cab), but it's so worthwhile.

Here's to you, Ladies of LIRW, and thank you for giving me the chance last year to have the informal conversation around that table that resulted in Deb hearing about the rest of the series which opened the door to my book deal.


  1. That's like the Shreveport Conference to me. It's not that close, about 6 hours away, but I love the way the group makes you feel, and I'm not a member. I've gone three years with some time in between when I couldn't, but they're terrific. Smaller conferences are great for making friends, not as hectic as National, etc! And at the last one, I finally got to meet Deb, which was so much fun!, and it was the first time I presented a workshop in person! So it made it even more special to me.

  2. What a wonderful, inspiring story Judi.

  3. That's a great story. It's nice to be able to give back.
    I give you a big cheer for giving me a fun fun story to read. Imagine 21 Jerry's in the pool. 21 Shark tail salute.

  4. wow, you ladies are up early on a Sunday! :)

    Glad you enjoyed it D! Thanks for the salute and for letting me know!

  5. Great post, Judi!
    I finished reading IOHH a few days ago and enjoyed it very much.
    Seems like everyone is way ahead of me on the conferencing/networking thing. Thus far in my writing career, I've been to one meeting of the INRWA, and that was last month! Looking forward to meeting everyone in DC!

  6. Giving back is always important. I sold before RWA was around, so for me, it's more a thank you for knowing there's others out there who understand me.


  7. What a lovely thing to do Judi!

    I'm a firm believer in giving back and in reaching out a hand to help others. To me, it's not only important, but satisfies the soul.

    I don't think anyone has a magic formula on getting published. It truly is being in the right place at the right time, with the right agent, editor, or publisher. Since that's the case, showing appreciation for that karmic lightning flash, is important and gracious.

    How nice to see Casa authors are on the same page. :-)

  8. Great post, Judi. It sounds like a wonderful luncheon. I hope I'm there to watch you give back some more next year!

    Oh, one funny thing that happened this weekend. I've been keeping In Over Her Head in my car so it's there when I have a few minutes to read. Unfortunately, I forgot to close my car windows last night during the thunder storm from hell. I guess your mer man got to take another swim. Now I have to go buy another copy!

  9. What a lovely story, and lovely to be able to give back. Sorry about Robin's book... and affinity for water I suppose.