Today we meet one of the featured speakers at “From Here to Eternity”, ANGELA JAMES, Executive Editor of Carina Press. Angela will present conference workshops on Digital Publishing (Sunday morning) and Social Media for Authors (A-Day.) Angela is also on several panels and will take pitches on Friday.
Welcome to the RWAustralia Blog, Angela. Can you describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Nice Mommy, Evil Editor! Passionate about books, digital and food.
Your job in 10 words or less.
Going where no woman (or man) has gone before.
What is the best part of your job?
The best part is meeting authors and readers in person. I love the in-person communication and exchange of ideas.
I know people expect that most editors will say that rejecting manuscripts is the worst part of our job, and it’s true, that part’s no fun, but I actually think the worst part of my job is the sheer volume of email I get!
What’s the most interesting/exciting acquisition you’ve made recently?
We’re doing three holiday novella collections in December, and one of them is a contemporary novella holiday collection that will feature HelenKay Dimon, Jaci Burton, Alison Kent and Shannon Stacey. I think that’s an embarrassment of riches in the awesome contemporary authors category!
What are you most looking forward to doing on your visit to Australia?
Watching my husband experience Australia. He didn’t get to come with me last time, and he’s very, very excited about this trip. He plans to climb the Sydney Bridge (I do not). I loved my experience of Australia last time and I want him to have a similarly positive experience.
What is the one thing you absolutely, positively cannot travel without?
Besides my passport, money and phone (along with makeup, shoes and clothes?) My iPad. I could go without my laptop, ereaders and any paper books as long as I had my iPad. It’s my traveling media center.
What do you enjoy most about writing conferences?
I actually really love presenting, and the energy that comes from the audience interaction with my presentation. It’s a fantastic natural high.
What is the most memorable conference you’ve attended (for better or worse)?
I won’t name the conferences that qualify as not happily memorable, but there are two. One was not a romance conference, it was a horror conference, and the panels were very poorly attended (like 5 people in a panel audience) because it was in Vegas and everyone was out gambling! And then, in one panel, a gentleman right at the front fell asleep and started snoring.
The other conference was one where the editors and agents were scheduled for all-day pitch appointments on Saturday. We were all put in this one small room, and we started getting punchy and cracking jokes, because it felt almost as if we were imprisoned, and only let out for lunch and if we were doing a workshop. Otherwise, it was about 6 hours of pitches and we were burnt out by lunchtime. We all skipped the conference lunch and went to our rooms to hide for that hour. I felt sorry for the afternoon pitches because we were really tired and cranky by then!
It’s hard to name the best memory for a conference, because honestly, the conference horror stories are pretty rare for me. I’ve attended some awesome ones. I will say that the 2010 RT conference hotel will probably always be a happy memory for me. I was there right when we were launching Carina Press, and launching a big marketing campaign. I spent hours in my room working, and at one point tweeted that I could really use a cosmopolitan martini. 15 minutes later, a waiter delivered TWO of them. The conference hotel, the Colombus Hyatt, was watching the conference hashtag on Twitter, saw my tweet and arranged for me to get martinis. It was awesome.
Any advice for conference first-timers and/or nervous introverts?
If you’re afraid no one will talk to you, carry an interesting bag, or wear some unique jewelry. It gives people a reason to say something to you. Don’t be afraid to talk to other people. I don’t think conferences are meant to be experienced as a solitary venture, and I believe the experience is always much more memorable and positive when you interact with others.
Standing next to you in line waiting for the elevator/bar/lunch/bathroom, what is the best question (or surefire conversation-starter) an RWAussie can ask?
I try to take my own advice, and usually wear some sort of interesting necklace, to make it easier for people to talk to me (editors are scary, I hear). But I’m also always happy when people ask me about what I’m reading, or have read recently. I love to talk about books (from all publishers). Also, a lot of people have opened up conversation by commenting on my recent Twitter feed. It’s a nice way to make a conversation personal! (My twitter: http://twitter.com/angelajames)
What is the number one message/lesson you hope participants take away from your session(s):
SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS: Be aware of a consistent, professional brand message.
DIGITAL PUBLISHING: Publishing is an exciting place to be, and a reputable publisher can help you navigate the territory and push your book to the next level.
If you’re interested in pitching to Angela at “From Here to Eternity” (not in a small, crowded room after six unbroken hours of appointments, I hasten to add) make sure you read the Pitching feature May’s Hearts Talk and check out the conference website Pitches page from May 4.