This year I’m going to The Word on the Street, I vowed. And so I did.
I started my foray down the street on the northbound lanes of Queen’s Park where the Fringe Beat was. There I found two people I’d met through the Internet: Lorina of Five Rivers, and Paul Lima, whose e-mail course I’d taken many years ago in the hopes of relearning how to write so that I could finish my book Lifeliner. Photos are just no substitute for meeting people in person. You miss their sparkling eyes and vibrant manner. After chatting for a bit, it was time to leave so that others could speak to them, and they could sell a few books.
Emboldened by that encounter, I went in search of publishers to pick their brains on how to submit — what are they really looking for, I wanted to know. Every magazine publisher has submission guidelines on their websites, but nothing helps like talking to the people who receive those submissions, getting an idea of what they’re like and what they like best. And so for spacing.ca, I discovered they like links to photos best; and Arc Poetry isn’t so much into experimental poetry, which is good because neither am I. But the biggest discovery was that there are still Canadian publishers who prefer submissions for novels straight from the author not through agents, as is the trend now. I am so indebted to the kind guy at Insomniac Press for taking the time to not only answer my questions, but also to give me tips on things I’d never think of asking about. As I was leaving, he reiterated the most important part of my novel query: talk up my first book’s accomplishments. Now that’s someone I’d like to work with; too bad I was so caught up in the conversation I forgot to ask his name! Dumb, dumb, dumb. Ah well.
On the reading front, I met an author or two and checked out the Sony Reader. That tent was so jam packed with people interested in the Reader, I rested my feet for awhile in one of their very comfy chairs. Then I got to take a snazzy, touch screen red one out into the sun to see that it really is easy to read in direct sunlight. (Thank goodness all the weather forecasters were wrong, wrong, wrong. No rain.) Unfortunately, I’m back to wanting the most expensive thing in the store. The one on sale was not the snazzy red one I liked, but the non-touch screen version which I thought was heavier but maybe it was the tether cord on it and not so easy to use.
The other really busy tent was over at Simon & Schuster. While the other publishers were offering a measly 20% off, they were continually dropping their prices so hardcovers starting at $10 each were down to 3 for $10 when I got there. I snagged 2 hardcovers and a Star Trek softcover. I wanted the Star Trek one and had to really hunt and fight the people to get through so I could find a couple of hardcovers that looked interesting. The money was all going to charity apparently.
I’m glad I finally got my butt out to WOTS. As a writer, it was well worth the tips and people I met!