What did I do to prepare? After the initial jumping up and down when I received the acceptance letter ("They like me! They really like me!"), I knew I was going to do some hefty research. There was a list online of all the mentors, and I wanted to know a bit about them and who they edit/represent before walking into the conference.
* I'm one of those people who need to be organized to feel competent and in control, so yeah, research. Love me some Googling. Plus, it helped me narrow down a list of people I really wanted to speak with.
And then ... it was Saturday.
My One-on-One mentor was Julie Tibbott, an editor from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She was impossibly friendly, wonderful, and helpful, and has thus prejudiced me against any editor who's anything less. Julie and I spent our 45-minute One-on-One session discussing possibilities for my query letter, which I've been fighting with for months now. She gave me some great suggestions and a fresh perspective, and also had some positive feedback on the pages I'd sent in with my application (yay!).
During lunch, we were assigned to the tables of our Five-on-Five groups, but we mentees were free to wander about and chat with whomever we wanted. Now, there wasn't much wandering, which disappointed me because it meant that the mentors rarely had a free moment. Basically my options were: (1) hover and interrupt or (2) seek out the people on my list who were miraculously unoccupied for five minutes. I chose #2.
Look who I met!
I looked for Ruta because Balzer & Bray published THE SHIFTER, and you all know how much the FNC loves Janice Hardy. Ruta also loves Janice, and we happily chatted about the book for a few minutes. Ruta = awesome. And we took a picture together to say hi to Janice.
Yeah, Ruta's way cooler than I am.
Balzer & Bray is also responsible for Amy Huntley's THE EVERAFTER, so they're definitely an imprint to look out for. (3 of the 6 books on B&B's launch list were from debut authors!)
I also met editor Gretchen Hirsch, who was Kimberly Derting's editor when she worked at HarperCollins. (She's now with Atheneum/McElderry.) Pretty much I just thanked her for helping to bring THE BODY FINDER into existence. Yay Kim! (Gretchen's also responsible for JESSICA'S GUIDE TO DATING ON THE DARK SIDE.)
I don't look overeager AT ALL.
And then it was time for Five-on-Five.
TO BE CONTINUED!