Yes, I Attended a Schmoozer!

Two days ago, I got to attend something called a SCHMOOZER, a networking get-together hosted by the Quebec Writer’s Federation at a pier-side bistro in the gorgeous Old Port of Montreal.

Now, I’m not big on showing up to these things on my own, you know, sauntering through the doors and not giving two flying forks that no one knows me from Eve. So, in order to go, I had to latch myself to another writer. Luckily, new friend and fellow writer, Su Sokol, was happy to oblige. Thanks, Su!

We strolled up to the gathering of writers, editors, budding lit agents, translators, QWF staff, etc. in the sweltering heat and humidity (Montreal has lovely summers but I swear its humidity was concocted by demons in the deepest, darkest pit in hell and consequently unleashed on our poor, unsuspecting island) and promptly had a swell time. Everyone was nice and chatty and, because it was a networking activity, it wasn’t weird to talk about myself or my book or my blog, and even less so when I whipped out my new business card–Wham!–and tucked it into the hand of whoever I was speaking with. It was invigorating!

Thanks to my husband who did a fab job!

Thanks to my husband who did a fab job!

 

I’ve written a lot about my writing experiences and projects on this blog and in guest blogs, messaged and emailed friends on the subject, and participated in interviews and blog hops and author features, all of which are great. Doing this kind of stuff is a great way to connect with a broad audience. Also, thinking about writing and then organizing those thoughts in order to compose an article, for example, are great ways to improve. In fact, I believe doing these things have gone a long way in terms of helping me produce pieces that are easy to read and, hopefully, well-thought out. If nothing else, it’s given me the confidence to believe I can write other things besides stories—something I wasn’t sure about when I started blogging.  

That said, having to look someone in the face and talk about my book was tough. Not because I didn’t know what I was talking about but because knowing how to do it in a way that avoided causing my listener’s eyes from glazing over stressed me out.

Case in point: The first person who asked about my book…well, it didn’t go so good. In fact, it was one big fat, FAIL. I felt so much pressure to present my book in a unique and interesting way, in other words different from the 6 billion other books on the market, that I could barely string a sentence together, let alone anything that sounded convincing. Did I mention that I was surrounded by people who had published with well-known publishing houses and others who had won awards or had some amount of recognition for their books?

from godtalkvermont.blogspot.com

from godtalkvermont.blogspot.com

Yeah.

But as the evening wound down and with a Smirnoff Ice mellowing in my stomach, I began to relax. I chatted, smiled, and learned about the people around me and about their writing experiences and challenges. I discovered that, in a lot of ways, we were in the same boat. Hate marketing? Yep. Frustrated by how much time the business side takes away from writing. Oh, yeah. Wish you could write full-time but stuck having to work a day job? Oh, yeah! Finally, long after the event was done, a few of us stuck around to chat and a writer (Hi Veena, if you’re reading!) asked me about my book. I didn’t stress about any of the stuff I had before. Instead, I talked about what The Purple Morrow meant to me and that’s when the words started to roll. There aren’t many unique stories out there, but talking about Morrow’s essence and its themes and how they became the story worked. I felt like my listener actually listened.

Purple_Morrowl

 

Anyway, I’m glad I attended. It was a great opportunity to meet some great people while practicing becoming comfortable talking about myself and my work. I’d been looking for a place in the Montreal writing scene for a while and, after four years or so, it looks like I might have got my toe in the door. In September the main activities like workshops and mentorships will start up and I hope to explore those too. So stay tuned as I venture deeper into the realm of the Montreal writing scene since I will most definitely be blogging about it. 🙂

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About Dyane

Dyane Forde’s love of writing began with an early interest in reading and of words in general. Writing has been a life-long passion and she writes all types of things, from short stories, novels, flash fiction and poetry. Dyane writes to communicate, meaning that writing becomes a means through which she seeks to connect with people on a level deeper than intellect.
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19 Responses to Yes, I Attended a Schmoozer!

  1. denmaniacs4 says:

    A delightful post, Dyane. I started to give 4 stars out of 5 but then decided, that’s chintzy, its a fun post…

    Like

  2. Su J. Sokol says:

    It was a lot of fun reading about this event that we both attended. Great job describing both the event and the difficulties of promoting one’s own work.

    Like

  3. erikakind says:

    I totally hear you. It is so different to only write in a safe zone or to be asked and possibly questioned. The hardest part to me still is to present and “sell” my product. I am very humble when it comes to praise myself or my book. But after a few talks I love to get the opportunity to talk about what I feel as my purpose. It is just a new world that has not been entered before.

    Like

    • Dyane says:

      I know exactly what you mean. I realized that I have a hard time ‘selling’ my book as a product, maybe because I don’t see it as just that; it’s a part of me first and foremost. “Pushing” my books feels wrong, lol. I am much more comfortable when someone else finds value or pleasure in it and promotes it based on that.

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      Like

  4. jazzfeathers says:

    I really like this post, Dyane. Hearing from people who experienced the business of writing ‘face to face’ it’s a bit like experiencing it myself.
    I’m part of an online workshop, and I love it, but last March I attended a workshop in Dublin, and – oh my goodness! – being with other writers, talking about writing, talking about my book and their books, it all felt so absolutely fantastic and… will I say liberating? Yes I will 🙂
    I’m Italian, but I write in English, so the nearest place where I can get together with fellow writers – being it Dublin or London – is a flight away from me, on the other end of the continent. Can’t say it’s an easy business… but after last March experience I’m willing to try a great deal to go again.
    And I agree with you, I’d feel awkward to market my book too. Just talking about it it’s easier and far far more rewarding in so many ways.

    Like

    • Dyane says:

      Hi! Oh, I’m so glad you could relate. I love online work but it’s true that taking ourselves ‘out there’ is an experience all on it’s own–and yes, liberating. It’s too bad you have to go so far for that contact but I’m happy that you are motivated to keep doing it. Full speed ahead!

      Like

  5. Great job Dyane! Sounds terrifying and wonderful in equal measure. I’m seriously impressed that you had the guts to turn up to the event in the first place; I find networking agonising, even though I’m by no means an introvert. And that business card is, well, the business 🙂 Looks superb! One question – how did you find out about the event? I’ve never been aware of anything going on in the publishing world around my neck of the woods (apart from literary festivals for proper authors – you know, ones people have heard of!)

    Like

    • Dyane says:

      Thanks! Lol I’m a coward, that’s why I needed someone to go with me. And thanks in regards to the card. I’m thrilled with it. 🙂 As for your question, I came into contact with the Federation through Su (mentioned above) who I met through a local publisher who connected with me through LinkedIn–basically networking just as it should :). Since then I’ve been in touch with other local writing associations. This is a major step because I’d been looking for these groups for years and now I’ve finally made contact 🙂

      Like

    • jazzfeathers says:

      The business cards! Why did you mention the business cards? Now I want business cards with my name on it too!!!!!!!

      Like

  6. Congratulations on taking yourself out of your comfort zone and excelling. I can write word after word about my writing but to do it in person–wow. But it is a very important skill to master.

    Like

  7. Katie Cross says:

    Good for you, Dyane! You continually impress me without how far outside you’re box you’re willing to go. This can be a constantly challenging process, but you always seem to rise to the occasion. So, so impressed.

    Like

    • Dyane says:

      Hey, Katie! It’s been ages!
      Thanks! Goodness, such wonderful praise coming from the lady who’s done book signings and a major event?? You impress me! 🙂
      I have to admit that each new thing I taste gives me the thirst for more, lol There might be some interesting tales to tell coming this Fall…that’s all I’ll say for now lol

      Like

  8. I’m the quintessential ostrich with my head buried in the sand. I hear ya. Meeting new people is hard to do, going to an event where the goal is specifically to meet other authors….I’m sweating beads thinking about it. I have yet to do so. You’re my hero.

    But I have had the courage to talk about my book with friends and acquaintances who have shown interest. Talking about the book instead of “marketing” the book is a world of difference. I talk about my protagonist as if they were real people, and I get totally animated when I talk about the overall theme, or a specific scene, as if it was all very very real. That enthusiasm, I think, spreads like wild fire. If you spoke to me about your book, and you’re waving your hands and your eyes are bulging out and you’re totally out of breath…I’m sold!

    Maybe I should go to one of these mixers. You’ve inspired me…. 😀

    Like

    • Dyane says:

      Oh, I’m thrilled to hear it! It’s a challenge to do things like this but when it works, it leaves you with such a sense of accomplishment. And I am right with you about talking about your book instead of marketing it–it’s a world of difference.
      I’m so glad you checked out this piece and that you left a comment. 🙂
      Best of luck!

      Like

  9. Pingback: What’s Up and What’s Not: A Writing Journey Update | Dropped Pebbles

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