Last month, I was invited to HarperCollins to meet my editor and my publishing team. It was a truly amazing experience, a highlight of my life thus far, and just…did I say it was amazing? Because it was.
I’ve tweeted and Instagrammed pictures, but I want to share with you exactly how it went down, as well as tips on how to make your own experiences with visiting your publisher go smoothly and stresslessly (that’s a word now, because I wrote it).
But first, isn’t this an adorable trio of publishing peeps? I certainly think so…
My editor, me (the perpetual blonde), and my intrepid agent
Anyway, let’s talk details.
If you get invited to visit your publisher, it’s likely that means traveling to NYC. I am NOT a city girl. Not at all. My preferred activities are animal husbandry and woodland frolicking. Plus I am a, shall we say, less than confident flier (planes are highly dangerous germ boxes and you will never convince me otherwise).
HOWEVER, there are a few things I did to keep my nervous self more confident on my trip to the Big Apple.
- Make use of 21st century technology. The MyTransit NYC app is now your best friend. Big Brother may be watching you, but at least he knows where all the subway entrances are. However, if you’re taking the subway, sort out your line changes *before* getting onboard. The cell signals down in the city of the mole people are sketchy at best, except at stations. Oh, and get a MetroCard, then pretend you’re a New Yorker and know what you’re doing. Trust me, it’ll help. Put those headphones in and avoid eye contact at all cost.
- Find accommodations as close to your meeting location as your budget will allow. The less you have to worry about on your way to your publishing house, the better. If you are a HarperCollins author like myself, I’m pleased to inform you that there’s a hotel in the same building as Harper. If you stay there, all you have to do is walk around the block. Either way, figure out your travel arrangements in advance, so it’s not something you need deal with on the fly.
Once I navigated the perilous mazes of New York’s underground world and ensconced myself above Harper’s offices, I was ready for meeting and greeting. My agent and I rendezvoused in Harper’s lobby and went up to connect with my editor. Then the three of us went on to the actual “meeting” part of a meet and greet.
Here is where my next VERY IMPORTANT debut year tip comes in.
If you have *any* kind of social anxiety, or even are just a dyed in the wool introvert, find out exactly what your meet and greet will entail beforehand. How many people will there be. How long can you expect it to last. What will the format be like. What sort of information should you be prepared to give.
I did not ask any of these questions, because I knew I didn’t have to. I’m an introvert, yes, but also the rare gregarious type who has no problem walking into a room full of people and addressing them. That kind of thing is not remotely nerve-wracking to me. In fact, I rather enjoy it (planes, on the other hand…).
This particular quality served me well at Harper, because I’d had this vision in my head of sitting down in a windowless, dimly lit conference room with maybe my editor and agent, my future publicist, and someone from marketing. This was NOT the case. I don’t know how these things usually go–I only have my own experience to draw from. But we walked into a glass-walled conference room where a good 15 or 20 people were sitting around a table waiting to do a Q&A.
Again, if social unknowns stress you out, ask for the exact parameters of your author meet and greet ahead of time.
Fortunately, I *am* that rare chatty introvert, and had a great time talking about book inspirations, my love of C.S. Lewis, my research process, and social media strategies. All in all, it was a lot of fun.
My final and more frivolous tip for any of you looking towards your author meet and greet is this–do something fun while you’re in NYC. At least one fun thing that will favorably dispose you towards the city. I was able to do several, and despite my chicken-wrangling, forest-walking, anti-urbanite ways, I’m really looking forward to going back to the city.
To sum up:
- Use your Smartphone to make city travel (somewhat) painless
- Stay as close to your publisher as you can (or sort out your route there well in advance)
- Make sure you get specifics on your time at your publishing house if you have a hard time with social unknowns
- Have fun, and remember: everyone you meet at your publisher is there because they love your work and are invested in its success <3
Journal of a Debut Year will be back the Monday after next, offering tips on time management during the year before your book release!