Serendipity happens. And it happened to me this past weekend.
Here's the backstory: I went to a writers' conference, one in which literary agent pitches (where the writer pitches his/her novel to the agent, not the other way around) were embedded right into the ticket price. Yay, DFW Writers Conference! And it just so happened that I had won an extra pitch session. Yay, me!
[NOTE: Here's the lowdown on how a book gets published--First, you have to finish your manuscript (unless it's nonfiction, which is another story). Yeah, you do have to finish the book first. That seems like the hard part, right? Well, then, if you want to go the traditional route and get published by a big publisher, you generally have to get a literary agent hooked into your work, so yeah, that's the stage I'm at....and it's harder than you think.]
Unfortunately, the agent I was supposed to pitch to was unable to make it. :-( So they did her pitch sessions using Skype. But then, there were technical difficulties, and I was a writer without an agent to pitch to. Poor me. :-(
Then, in swooped Super Agent to save the day! Swoosh!!!!
Think twice before you judge someone without
getting to know him or her first.
It just so happened that a really cool agent happened to be standing next to me and said that her agency might be interested in my manuscript. I had studied all the agent profiles before attending the conference and knew this particular agent would have subzero interest in my book. I write books for young people--teenagers, more specifically, and she was looking for romance novels. You might call my writing a lot of things, but romantic, it's not. So I explained to her that I definitely did not write romance. That did not deter Super Agent! She told me to come pitch to her anyway. So I did.
Here's the thing you really need to know about this agent--actually, I guess it's more about me and my insecurities than it is about her. Look at this picture of her. Did you look at it? No, really, go and look. You see what I mean? Stunning woman! Gorgeous, sophisticated, got-it-together type of lady--you know, basically everything I am not. So to say I was intimidated is an understatement.
Well, ya'll, let me tell you--Super Agent (aka Tricia Skinner) is really, really cool. She was so enthusiastic about my novel, so nice, so cool, and she was completely approachable. She was easy to talk to, and I was really shocked to find that she was actually interested in my manuscript after I described it to her. At the end of my pitch, she reached out her hand, and we shook, but then I had to go an extra step and give her a big hug because I was so impressed by her awesomeness.
So lesson learned--I am guilty of the sin of judging a book by its cover. I am intimidated by attractive and/or very sophisticated people. I do not consider myself to be terribly sophisticated or attractive. I'm more of a dog-hair-all-over-my pants?-guess-I'll-wear-it-anyway type of person.
Anyways, if you are writing some kind of cool romance novel, you should definitely query Tricia because she's building her client list. If you're not interested in writing but enjoy life lessons, then remember to always think twice before you judge someone without getting to know him or her first.
End note: I doubt Tricia will be interested in my book since it's YA and kinda/sorta anti-romance (It's safer to be skeptical, you know, so you don't get your hopes up. *knock on wood*). But I am so glad I met her! She renewed my hopes.
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I was recently listening to PRI's The World, a radio program about current events and movements around the world, and my ears perked up when I heard them mention something called "slow fashion." Ever heard of it? No? Well, have you heard of slow food? Slow food is a push back at fast food. Slow food is about investing time and energy into food preparation and taking the time to enjoy it. And so slow fashion is...well, it's nothing like slow food really.
According to the story from The World, slow fashion emphasizes organic fibers, high quality construction, and fair wages. It's fashion that defies trends--the intent is for you to use and wear these garments for twenty years or more. Does that sound like an outrageous length of time to you? According to the story, most women wear an article of clothing only seven times before discarding it. Yeah, you read that right. Seven times! Who are these women?!?! I wear my clothes over and over and over again. I keep my clothes until they're so messed up I can't wear them anymore or until I can't wear them anymore because my belt line has shifted locations. :-/ I have been known to wear shoes until there are holes in the bottom, making the soles flop up and down, and I still only part with them reluctantly.
Okay, so maybe I'm not a fashion maven. In fact, the word "maybe" is a bit too generous: I am definitely NOT a fashion maven. But I do like to look nice...even if the attire I wear is not quite in fashion at the time.
Because slow fashion is of the highest quality (it's gotta be, right? How else would it last for 20+ years?!?!), it's also pricey. A plain t-shirt goes for $55, and a pair of socks is $20. *elephant-sized gasp* A pair of socks for $20! Good Lord! Who can afford those prices? Not a skinflint like me, that's for sure!
So here's an alternative--let's say you are interested in looking good and helping the environment by keeping perfectly good clothes from ending up in the city dump. And let's further say that you don't want to pay $55 for a t-shirt or $20 for a pair of socks. In fact, let's say you would actually like to get an entire wardrobe on the cheap. How can you do all that?
Pay a visit to your local thrift store!
You can actually go into a thrift store and for $30 or so, buy an entirely new wardrobe.
But, ew, you may recoil and say. Am I really telling you to buy and wear clothes that other people have worn and discarded? Well, yes, I am. I mean, it's not like I'm telling you to go digging through someone's trashcan and wear their old discarded newspapers with coffee grinds dripping off. And it's not like this stuff is dirty. Most (if not all) thrift shops actually do wash their donated clothes before they ever put them on the shelf. Once you get past the "ew" factor, I think you will actually be pleasantly surprised. Below, I've posted some pictures of several outfits I've purchased at thrift stores over the years. As you look at them, remember that I'm not a professional photographer, and I'm actually a pretty terrible picture-taker.
You can actually go into a thrift store and for $30 or so, buy an entirely new wardrobe. And since it's so cheap, you can change and add to your wardrobe constantly without breaking the bank. You may have to dig a little, of course, because while all thrift stores have great bargains, they also have mountains of clothing that you will find horrible. But don't give up, and remember that with each article of clothing you buy from a thrift store, you're helping Mother Earth!
So please, before you buy some polyester something online or at a store, consider thrift-shopping. Just give it a shot and see what you think.
"'Slow Fashion' Designers Tout Their Wares as Better for the Planet"
Read the original story that inspired me at PRI's The World.
"8 Awesome Thrift Store Items People Often Miss"
This article describes several treasures you can find at your local thrift store.
"10 Reasons Why Thrift Stores are Awesome"
This article lists several benefits of shopping at a thrift store.
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Word and Book Lover.