Perhaps you’re an author and have just survived your first writer’s conference. Or maybe, you’re a seasoned veteran of many. There can be a multitude of emotions after these events. Some authors are celebrating agent/editor requests for manuscripts and are on an emotional high at the apex of the roller coaster we call the writing life.
Others may be feeling like they just slid over the edge and are plummeting down the steep hill into an abysmal, dark cavern.
I'm here to share two "golden lessons". Flubs are not fatal and the world of publishing is comprised of a small group of editors and agents.
My goal at one of my first writer's conferences was to do several paid critiques. This was at a smaller, local gathering and I was just dipping my toes into the pool like a first time swimmer. I asked the conference director what I should submit. I still think he said "your best three chapters."
Now, by the time I met with this particular agent over that critique, I had realized my mistake and apologized profusely. Surely, there was no saving my reputation.
That's right, my manuscript was about a serial rapist and our appointment was minutes after that talk.
I still went.
1. Confess your mistake. Editors and agents are human just as we are and have probably made a few flubs themselves. Be open and honest about the mistake and move on.
2. Learn from your mistake. Don't do the same thing twice. It’s not the fact that you made a mistake but your ability to fix and learn from it that is the mark of a professional.
3. Stay positive. If you think the agent/editor flubbed and it affected you negatively, don't disparage them on social media. That same editor I met with twice is still working as an editor and was at the conference sitting one table away from me at the banquet. That would likely be a career ender.
4. Laugh about it. The writing life is hard enough. Self deprecating humor goes a long way in helping keep you sane.
What “fatal” flub have you had and how did you handle it?
(Be sure to comment!)