The Focus is on Pitching your Book
Wow, the 2018 Writers League of Texas Agents and Editors conference was a different kind of conference for me — not just workshops on the craft of writing, though that was included. The focus instead was on pitching to agents and editors. And the conference planners went out of their way to prepare us for pitching our books. They offered podcasts before the conference on pitching tips. The first general session is about how to successfully pitch. Immediately following that, we had a practice pitch time with other attendees.
On the second and third days of the conference every conferee, who scheduled one, got a ten-minute time with the agent of their choice (first, second or third choice) in which to pitch their books.
My two writing partners, Diane and E. Marie, and I prepared for this conference for two months by writing, rewriting, pitching to each other, revising and revising again, and pitching again. We researched agents and selected our agents before we had to sign up and got our and first choices.
Our preparation paid off!!!
We each received a request from the agent with which we consulted for a query letter and the first several pages of our novels.
Other Reasons to Attend a Conference
Yes, there were sessions on the craft of writing, on genre-specific writing and publishing, and the relationship between agent and author. Authors, agents, and publishers spoke to different topics in our writing lives. I took notes and learned a lot.
But connections with other writers for me had the most meaning. Arundhati, a writer from India, is writing a similar book–hers contemporary and mine historical fiction–about a women traveling from the U.S. to India.
But Arundhati is a native of Calcutta, one of the settings for my novel. I need to know more about the city and she is now my resource person (digitally from a distance). I have offered to review her work or other material in exchange. NOW, this was a real bonus!
I met another woman at the last luncheon session who lives about 90 miles from me and is considering offering writing workshops in her community. Exchanging business cards will keep us in touch to work together in the future.
But the camaraderie of my writing partners attending with me was the best part, such as discussing the different sessions we attended over lunch. Each evening we had a glass of wine; the first night to celebrate being there and the second night for getting a positive nod from each of our three agents to whom we pitched.
I highly recommend attending this conference or one like it when you are nearing the completion of your book or have finished it.
(P.S. I did not want to be intrusive during sessions, so some of the photos are not the quality I prefer but wanted you to get an idea about the conference.)
Next post I’ll write my suggestions for how to prepare and take advantage of conference opportunities (with some differences for extroverts and introverts).
If you have suggestions for how to make the most of conference attendance, please comment below. I’ll make reference to your suggestions in my next post. Thanks so much!