I have a policy of not naming names here in the blog. If you look back through the posts, you will see that I rarely, if ever, name people, blogs, or events. I do this because for several reasons, mostly because I don’t have their permission to associate their name with mine. However, there is the special case of Jon Gibbs, founder of the New Jersey Author Network. I have seen him call attention to me several times when I attend his talks, so I will take a chance here. Besides, if not for him, I would never be in the enviable position I am in.
It started when I met Jon Gibbs at a library presentation at the East Brunswick Public Library. I don’t quite remember the topic, but I do remember he was gracious enough to allow me some time to talk about the National Novel Writing Month. He recommended that I join the New Jersey Author’s Network, even though I have not published a book. I did. In retrospect, it was the smartest move I ever made.
Because I joined NJAN, I was on the mailing list when a New York Times Best Selling Author invited anyone in the group to his “we survived the Mayan Apocalypse” party. While at that party, I spoke with several people, one of whom had just quit his job. He had been able to make his living doing nothing but writing. His advice? Go to a writing convention. Good to know. Tucked it into the back of my head, continued schmoozing. Then I found myself face-t0-face with the NYTBSA. “What are you working on?” My brain cells deserted me. Go check out my Flexibility post for the whole story. Upshot? I have a major writer interested in my next novel.
A month or so later, Jon puts out an announcement about an upcoming writers convention. I remembered that advice from the party, and crowbarred the $175 out of my wallet for the convention. While at the convention, I had agent interviews, where I got the opportunity to personally pitch my work to two agents, one of whom was exceedingly interested in my work. Even better, I had an editor walk up to me and ask me to pitch to her. Amazing. Also rather impossible if I had just been working on my own.
And that’s really the point. Without Jon Gibbs and his open invitation to join his network, I would still be one of those lonely, solitary writers, straining to get published. Instead, I have found two agents and an editor that are at least interested in my work, as well as a NTYBSA who is looking for the Next Big Thing from me. How does one thank someone like Jon for this? Just one way….by paying it forward, by helping the next person in line, by working to help those further down the food chain.
And by thanking him, profusely and publicly. Thank you, Jon Gibbs. I haven’t made it yet, but thanks to you, I am leaps and bounds down the road, far further than I would be without you.