Published authors are people too. I must remember that. They are just people who are a bit further along the publishing path than me. They're totally normal. Many of them seem like really cool people.
In fact I think THAT is why I turn into embarrassing fan girl when I get to meet some in person, because I reckon they're cool and I'd love for them to be my writer buddy maybe.
So what do I do? I linger, I stand, I don't know what to say so I turn into creepy standing linger girl.
Actually no, usually I go along to their talk and think it's awesome and amazing and how much fun is that person and then I leave without having said hello.
Yesterday however, YA author Penni Russon came to my University and spoke about YA for 2 hours. It was awesome hearing her thoughts on the subject, her thoughts on her books, how she ended up as an author and how her books were published (as a work experience girl, she became friends with the editorial assistant and years later the editorial assistant became the commissioning editor and wanted some PENNI RUSSON thank you very much. I think this is awesome. I have more on this story later)
Yeah, so Penni came, she talked and I decided to bite the bullet and speak to her cos she's a real human being. And freaky stalky linger girl happened. Sigh.
But that's okay, cos I'm going to another event soon that she's also going to be at and just maybe I'll be able to pry freaky stalky linger girl off me and try again. Or maybe I'll just say "'sup" from across the room and leave it at that.
Okay, next part of the story, which involves editorial assistant-commissioning editor girl and someone ELSE who will be at the event I'm going to soon, Lili Wilkinson.
Two years...was it two? I think it was two. Two years ago I read a newspaper article about another aussie YA author, Lili Wilkinson. I hadn't actually heard of her at the time, but discovered she was in her mid-twenties and had a couple of books under her belt. I'm a couple of years younger than Lili, but I completely aspire to have her career. Soon.
Anyhoo, in the article it said that she had been commissioned to write a book for a new series, called Girlfriend Fiction.
WELL, I decided. Commissioned? Well maybe I could get mySELF commissioned as well.
So I emailed Allen & Unwin who were doing this collection and told them about a book I had written (okay, not entirely written yet, actually, not at ALL written - I don't reccommend doing this. That could have bitten me on the bum) that I thought would be great for Girlfriend Fiction, how should I go about submitting, if they were even accepting unsolicited stuff.
I sent it to the comments section on the website, not really expecting a response, not expecting anyone but maybe the webmaster to see it.
The ACTUAL editor (hello editorial assistant-commissioning editor gal) replied saying that they were full at the moment, but they'd love to see it at the end of the year.
WHOA. So in my mid-semester break at University, so over 6 weeks I wrote the book. I had so much fun doing it, too. And I polished it up as best I could and I sent it.
She replied with a page and a half of notes and if I'd be INTERESTED in rewriting it, she'd take another look. There were notes about stuff that happens right at the end of the book so I was pleased to see she'd definitely read the whole thing.
I was so thankful for her notes. They made so much sense to me and the whole back half of the book is COMPLETELY different - and for the better. And the climactic conclusion? WAY better than it was.
In the end, she decided it wasn't quite right for Girlfriend fiction. But that's okay. She helped me make it a better a book just by considering it. I never sent her a thank you email for that, which I regret not doing, but just assumed she's a busy woman and didn't need it.
Since then, THAT SAME BOOK got me my kick ass agent and introduction to her other clients, many of which have become awesome writer friends, and some editors are now looking forward to Sarah Billington books. I mean, wow.
I put it down to that article about Lili Wilkinson, and Girlfriend Books. It's kind of a dream now, that I'll write a book for Girlfriend fiction, because to me, that's how my career finally lifted off.
I've been to a couple of events Lili runs, and it's so stupid but because of this history that she has NO idea about, I don't go up and talk to her because stupid scary stalky linger girl will come out.
Maybe she's reading this right now? If so - see you on Sunday. If I'm brave enough. :)
MUST go to class now.