Just a few last minute comments from me, seeing as the ACFW National Conference is a little over two weeks away. I want to leave you with two thoughts about meeting editors and agents at a conference.
First of all, remember that they are human too. We unpublished author types often get ourselves worked up into a weird frenzy at the thought of meeting industry insiders. Even if we're not consciously doing it, we sometimes get this strange idea that editors and agents occupy a circle of existence reserved for either demigods or demons. You know, "These are the folks who walk the halls of the publishing industry, that heady nirvana to which we all aspire." Or, depending on how many times we've been rejected, "These are the gatekeepers who bar the way, the single-headed Cerberus who I must overcome to see my dreams become reality."
Let's just put it bluntly, folks. They're human beings, just like you and me.
Keep that in mind as you meet with them. While it would be nice if every editor and agent at a conference was chipper, friendly, and helpful, there's always the chance that you might catch them at an off time. Maybe they're hungry. Maybe lunch isn't agreeing with them. Maybe they just got an angry text from their significant other and they're hurting a little. Whatever the case, they may not be feeling their best and that may reflect on their interaction with you. It stinks, but what can you do?
Second, lastly, and most importantly, remember this: the editors and agents are on your side. More than that, they actually want to be there and meet with you.
Think about it this way: how big do you think the slush pile of the average editor or agent is? They could probably find some decent books without leaving the office. But there they are, sitting in a room, waiting to meet with you. Why? Because they know that you might just have what they are looking for.
This bears repeating: They want to meet with you.
If you're feeling nervous about meeting with an editor or agent for the first time, repeat that mantra to yourself. They are on your side. They may reject you. As a matter of fact, they may reject you a lot. But the fact that they're at the conference means that they're open to new ideas, your ideas, and they want to hear them.
My best advice: be professional, don't freak out too much, and remember, they want to meet with you.
See you at the conference!