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 said...you 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 scary...like, 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 even...land 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.