I’ve been meaning to discuss something that occurs at conferences. It’s something that is rarely brought up, but happens (I believe) quite frequently. Let me set up the scenario:
You’re sitting at the bar (or in the restaurant) of the hotel with your agent/editor and a friend walks by. You can tell the friend wants to stop, either to chat with you or to get an introduction to whoever you’re with. Your natural reaction is to say hi to your friend, which you do. This reaction is followed quickly by a gut check of extreme discomfort as your friend starts to slow and you see the expression on the agent’s/editor’s face change from happy-go-lucky to deer cornered by ravenous wolves.
The above scenario happens all the time at conferences. You’d think the decision to introduce your friend would be easy, but it’s not. The author who is chatting with the editor/agent is suddenly put in a very uncomfortable position. They don’t want to be a bad friend, but at the same time, they don’t want to make their editor/agent uncomfortable. And make no mistake, they DO get uncomfortable because they don’t (or do) know what the author approaching wants from them. This is especially true if the friend has submitted work to the agent/editor in the past. Hell, they might still be waiting for a response from the agent/editor. See how a simple introduction can become a complicated situation?
For those of you who’ve been in this situation, how did you handle it? For those of you who haven’t, what would you do if you were in either authors’ shoes?