Two Introverts Walk Into a Conference

I am an introvert and creature of habit. Everything in my home has purpose and a place to go, a structured schedule gives me life, and I’m in my element when alone.

“I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”

Audrey Hepburn – source

Let’s face it. The title of this blog post sounds like the opening of a pretty bad joke. However, that’s really what my mother and I are like among a crowd of people. I get my introversion from her. You wouldn’t believe it if you knew everything we’re involved in. Volunteering, working in retail, and coordinating projects are just a few examples. I’d call us “high functioning introverts.”

Two weeks ago mom mentioned she had to go to Delaware through a non-profit we both volunteer with and I went as her travel buddy. “I’ve never been to Delaware,” I said. “Let’s go!” The event was the Christian Product Expo, and my mom helps out with ordering and making connections for the non-profit.

Ironic, right?

I mainly wanted to go to interact with the publishers – Harper Collins, Barbour Publishing and DaySpring, just to name a few – and see what books they showcase at this kind of event. However, as soon as we stepped into that conference hall both our hearts dropped.

There were so. Many. People.

Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit here, but with five rows of vendors and publishers, we knew we needed to regroup and make a game plan for the day.

“I think a lot, but I don’t say much.”

Anne Frank – source

Mom and I manage to get through two rows before we’re mentally exhausted. Cue information overload. I can’t imagine traveling around with any conference or expo for a living. So we took a break and spent the rest of the afternoon chilling in the lobby. She went over booklets, contacts and the like while I worked on this blog post.

I must say that I’m proud of myself for gathering the courage to talk with the reps from the publishers that really interested me. I got just three business cards, but I discovered who carries the books of one of my favorite authors of fairy tale retellings – Melanie Dickerson! That made it easier to connect over books and hopefully opened the door for future contact. I’m getting ahead of myself here….

The Lessons Learned

Neither my mom nor I knew what to expect going into an event like this. That’s what daunted us the most about the experience. Here’s what I learned.

  1. Do Your Research – find out what publishers are looking for, who they represent, and read those books before going to an event. It’ll help conversation flow and show them you know the market. This is something I need to start working on!
  2. You Are Not Alone – you’re wrong if you think you’re the only introvert walking into that expo or conference. Don’t sell yourself short either – you’ve got props for just showing up! Yes, there are folks who’ve done things like this far longer, but most are extremely helpful.

Two introverts walked into a conference and came out feeling a bit more confident in themselves. “We did it!” Mom and I both said. We didn’t cover all the booths, but it was, overall, a really good learning experience. I don’t know if we’ll attend again in the future, but now I know at least some of the etiquette that comes along with it. Don’t pressure yourselves into thinking you must do it all and meet all the people.

Just let you shine through.


Book Review | Christmas by the Lighthouse

In this new realm of reviewing books, I have to constantly remind myself that I’m not going to love every book I read, be it from the library, a second hand book store, ARCs for review from NetGalley, or directly from the authors themselves.

I received CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE as an ARC from NetGalley. This did not affect my review.

*Future Leigh here: this review was particularly difficult to write.

With CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE by Rebecca Boxall, I didn’t fully dislike it, as it does highlight classic struggles of human nature. There are just a few things I’d like to touch upon before I go about deciding if I should recommend this book or not.

Settings
Setting description is one of Ms. Boxall’s strengths. The main settings described in CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE are gorgeous – the lighthouse, the cottages and locations around Jersey. Being from England herself, I wonder if it’s a place she knows. As much as I want to visit places like this I hate being close to open water. So I live vicariously through books.

Characters
Although the story centered around Summer and Jude, they felt just as two-dimensional as the rather large supporting cast. They say that every person you meet influences your life in some way or another. Jude certainly went on a journey (all I can say without giving away any spoilers), and there is a twist at the end.

Overall Flow
Things pick up in the second half of the tale. While there’s some fabulous scenes centered around connections characters have with World War Two, the slow pace of the first part nearly made me put down the book.

I couldn’t get behind with how nonchalant many of the supporting characters were of Summer’s marital status and her growing interest in Jude. I get that this is a work of fiction, but it bothered me that Summer’s husband kept “apologizing” as well. For these reasons, and the slow pace, I’ve given CHRISTMAS BY THE LIGHTHOUSE three out of five stars.

STRENGTHS: Conversation and Description,.

RATING: THREE out of FIVE stars

Christmas by the Lighthouse releases in Sept. 2019

Here’s just a bit of the journal page I made so I could easily take down my thoughts for this review. It’s a hobby I’ve always enjoyed doing and I wanted to start sharing images of what I create with the posts. I hope you enjoy!