Saturday, February 19, 2011

Just Take A Breath...And Go!

I always encourage people to go to writer's conferences because I believe they are the best way to gain the interest of an agent or an editor. There's nothing like sitting face to face with a person to really show how passionate and excited you are about a project.

Its also a time for you to judge whether or not this is the type of person you want to work with. Book Ends Literary Blog has a great post on what you need to know about an agent before signing with them.

Ask them questions about how hands on they are, what level of communication with clients they maintain, if there is a specific genre they feel they have strong contacts in...all these are important for you, the client, to know before pursuing a working relationship with the agent.

That being need to GO in order to actually meet anyone. It amazes me how many writers don't go to conferences at all.  Not only is it a great place to learn -- they have wonderful workshops by agents, editors, and other authors -- it helps you to learn the business side of writing.

That's right...the BUSINESS side of writing. Because there is one.  You need to understand that although its an art, a craft, and something dear to your heart, it is also an industry.

A good conference will publish updates of what's going on in the publishing world, have keynote speakers that address the changes and upcoming trends, and a faculty that is knowledgeable and professional.

I encourage you to sign up for a pitch session with an agent. It is, spit less, sweaty-hands, scary...but so worth it in terms of growth as a writer.  

They have always had great advice, direction, and encouragement for me at those sessions.

A good conference has a submission process like the one for OC Christian Writer's conference to get you ready for meeting with those agents. 

The San Diego Christian Writer's Guild conference has you submit your intended proposal before the conference. This is really helpful because you get valuable feedback on how to fine tune your pitch. Something that will help long after the conference.

Shaw Guides has a list of conferences for every state and every focus. From horror to inspirational to non-fiction there's a place for you to learn, network, and maybe an agent. 

I hope you take a chance and take trip to one of them. Until next time...Go Write!
Photograph by Chispita . Photograph by Beneath Blue Skies. Photograph by Bill Kuffrey.


Roland D. Yeomans said...

What great advice, Raquel. Well, at least the racking cough and the pain of the poison ivy which has swollen my hands and arms did something good. They kept me awake to read this post!

Sadly, my work as a harried blood courier and meager money keeps me away from those conferences. But you and I both know that our times are in the Hand of the Father. He'll find a way for me -- He always has, Roland

Elliot Grace said...

...well said, Raquel, and thanks so much for the links.

I've visited several writer's conferences both near and far...some worthy of my time, others not so much. Walked into one at a library once, sat down, looked around, and realized that I was the only person in the room under the age of sixty...which is a blogpost all in itself:)

If one is selective in their haste, writer's conferences can be very beneficial, when armed with a mindset of wanting to learn something new...perhaps in technique, fine tuning one's style, or simply a change of scenery...listening how someone else approaches a blank page, idea in mind.

Great post,

Kristal Lee said...

I dropped in to say "You've been gifted with the Stylish Blogger Award." Drop by Saturday blog post ( to pick it up.

Last year I went to my first RWA conference and had a blast even though I had nothing to pitch. The workshops were fantastic, and the people I met were great. I won't be able to attend in NY this year, but I hope to make next year's.

Have a great weekend!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I'm going to one in May! So excited! It's nice to meet you! Just stopping by to say hi from the crusade! :)

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I think I've already stopped by... There are so many blogs to keep track of! LOL

Rogue Mutt said...

I always think face to face meetings are actually worse for my chances.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I didn't realize it, but my agent said 80% of his clients he met at a conference. The face to face pitch has advantage over the "cold call" email apparently.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry, haven't gone to very many, but just enough to meet my publisher.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Oh I don't have time or money to go to a lot but I try to make a couple of local ones every year.

Alex - success example. His book CassaStar came out this year and is awesome. =)

Carol Riggs said...

Hi Raquel, fellow buddy Crusader! Thanks for visiting and following my blog. So here I am, visiting and following you. ;o) Happy weekend!

Jess said...

Thanks for the links! I'm going to my second conference this September and I can't wait! The cost has held me back from going to more, but I'm hooked on the motivation I got from the one I attended last year.

Robyn Campbell said...

Hey there, fellow crusader. Following back.

This is wonderful advice. I've been to one conference and found being around a couple hundred other writers too awesome for words. Oh the chatter that goes on. SOO COOL! Great post. :)

Patricia A. Timms said...

Great advice! Conferences would be great if they weren't so much money. However, investing in ourselves is an important piece of the process. I'm hoping next year I can get to a conference. This year is rough as I am caring for my sick mother as well.

Congratulations on your soon to be released book. Looking forward to hearing more on that.

WritingNut said...

Hello fellow crusader! :)

This is great advice.. I've never been to a conference, but I hope to soon!

Joanne said...

Thanks for the great advice! I've been to the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Conference and have bee contemplating the Lehigh Valley Conference next month. I think that you've helped me make my decision!

Lisa Nowak said...

I totally agree. Often you'll meet editors or agents at conferences and by doing so you are allowed to send them a query. Otherwise, they'd be closed to submission. Love the look of your blog, BTW.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Joanne - You go and have a blast!
Lisa - Thank you! =)

The Survival Mama said...

What a great idea!!
The only drawback I see is I would have to eat all the treats by myself :)

Crusader, Following you back, thanks for swinging by my blog.
The Survival Mama