As promised, here’s my list of what NOT to do at a writer’s conference.
1. Don’t miss your scheduled writer’s pitch!
Adam Friedstein, with Anderson Literary Management, graciously still allowed me to pitch and even requested pages. He read my material quickly and though it didn’t work for him he had these kind words for me “You're a talented writer - I really enjoyed the read.” Well, with compliments like that, how can I be sad?
2. Don’t be afraid to approach agents - but have your elevator pitch ready!!!!
I sat petrified with the other chickens far away from the agents at the party, while Lindsay Cummings got out there, with her perfect elevator pitch and sold it! She got five requests for FULLS (you go, Lindsay)! After my arm was twisted by this petite dynamo, I did awkwardly approach one agent at the party and stumbled my way through a too-long description of all the things my book WASN'T about, but he did request some pages and a synopsis out of pity. Dr. Uwe Stender had this to say in his rejection… “I like the concept of the novel. Unfortunately, though, I don't think it is quite right for me. The narrative voice did not really work for me…” OUCH! Just yank that Band-Aid right off!
3. If a workshop is full, push your way in anyway.
I don’t do well with crowds or small spaces and I chickened out when I saw how packed the synopsis class was. I ran away in search of another option and found myself nodding off in a tax-workshop. I don’t know about you, but I pay someone else to do my taxes for a good reason. I DID learn valuable information though. Write down my mileage (all millage from the beginning of the year to the end), keep a log of where I’m going and the miles I use for research, conferences, crit groups etc. and keep receipts for lodging, computers, and food at events or groups… and then give it to my tax professional.
My advice? Go to a conference, don’t follow my mistakes and have fun! I had such a great time. Made some amazing friends and memories, and I learned things I shall never forget.