You mentioned networking. Which, I've always wondered, for things like this, is there any point in me trying to make a connection with you *inaudible* ten years?
It's very hard to make any kind of meaningful connection with the established authors. If you want to network, you can try, but I just don't have the time. People will ask me out to dinner on tour, and I've already got, like, five friends and family I've got to say no to. I can't even go to dinner with Jason. (Hi, Jason.) One of my long-term friends, because I'm just popping all the time on tour. At a convention, you can usually grab an author, if you're at a con, and be like, "Hey, can I ask you questions for a few minutes," and it's less about networking then, and more about getting information. People you should be networking with are your colleagues.
Here's an interesting story. So, I took a class in 2000 at BYU as an undergraduate. And it was taught by David Farland, who's a fantasy novelist. I'm like, "Oh, there's a real novelist teaching a class. I'm gonna take that." Some of my friends felt... people I didn't know, but other people like me, went and took this class. In this class, I met a man named Dan Wells. I met another man named Peter Ahlstrom. A woman named Kaylynn ZoBell. A group of our friends, the people who became my friends, I started a writing group with them. Well, I sold a book, went full-time. Dan sold a book and went full-time. Peter became an editor at TokyoPop and went full-time. And Kaylynn sold a book. She hasn't gone full-time because that panics her. But, of the people in that class, we are the only ones who went pro. And all of us did. Which should tell you something. And that is, having a community of people who support you as writers... I don't think we were the best writers in that group. I think we're the ones that supported each other, kept practicing, and we became the best writers. But that's that support group. And what happened is, Dan came up to me at a con, and said, "Hey, I found this guy, Moshe Feder. You should come talk to him." So Dan pulled me over and I talked to Moshe. I sold a book to Moshe. Years later, Dan had written a book I thought Moshe would like, and I called Moshe and said, "Hey, the guy who introduced us has a book. You should read it." And Moshe bought Dan's book. And you kind of help each other out, and things like that.
You should be networking with those people. And the other people are the editors and agents. They're at conventions and conferences to work with new writers. That's the purpose. They're always hunting for new talent there. An editor and agent, because they love science fiction and fantasy, and are looking for people to bring out to the world. Every editor wants to be Hugo Gernsback, who discovers these new writers, and things like that. So those are the people to network with.