They tried hard. But they should have known, from Comic-Con, how packed out these kinds of events could get. When you get top YA authors, A-List personalities, and good old Stan Lee in a venue, you have to expect chaos–even if it’s about books.
Book-Con ’14 was one crowded place. There was a time when I had found myself at the back of the hall and thinking, “What if there was a incident, and everyone had to get out?” It would be like that Who concert in Cincinnati–people getting crushed.
However, some lines were worth it: like the one for the NYTBSA Said author looked up, said “Hi, Bill! How’s the work going?”, then graciously signed a book for me. I was floored–this famous author remembered me! I discussed THT for the ten seconds I had in front of him, then exited the line to allow others to get books.
Still bemused, I walked across the aisle to Mid-Sized-Press-Company. I guess I was grinning, for one of the people behind the table said “Ah, got a book from [NYTBSA]?” Her badge labeled her as “Chief Poo-bah”. I related the story of how THT came to be. She said, “What is this project? Tell me about it.” I did so. At a certain point in my pitch, I always get goosebumps. I happened to glance down, and she also had goosebumps. Whaaaa?
She looked me dead in the eyes. “If [NYTBSA] passes on your project, I want it. This is a verbal request for a full submission of your manuscript. If the website says our submissions are closed, put in your query letter that I personally asked for it.” I’ve never seen anyone look so intent, and I’ve pitched a few folks on my work, though not necessarily this one. So…wow.
The next week, I related this to one of my trusted associates while at a writers meeting. One of the people there overheard me, and said “If I had any capital, I’d option that concept right this second.” He is a screenwriter with some solid credentials in the film industry, and he was saying that if he could, he would offer me cash, that minute, to grant him exclusive development rights for my concept for the screen.
Again, double wow. Just a single paragraph of pitch, and three industry pros (writer, editor in chief, screenwriter) are not just mildly interested, but absolutely possessively interested. Color me stunned.
After some major thought, I came to this conclusion: I had always wondered whether the NYTBSA was either humoring me, or mildly interested, or something along those lines–encouraging while not really sold on the concept. Now I know. Validation. It’s a wonderful word.
After BookCon, I had an excellent meeting with Grant Faulkner and a few Municipal Liaisons from the Tri-State area.