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.