Ami asked me to say a few things about the last conference I attended on April 29-30. This was my first writer’s conference so I didn’t know what to expect. It was geared to children’s writers and illustrators and since I wrote a YA novel, I thought I would fit right in.
Yes and No.
Day 1: Friday
I drive three plus hours to the hotel where the conference is being held. Check in and am excited to begin my journey and “wow” the reputable agent and publisher who reviewed my manuscript.
At night about twenty of us hopefuls gather in a meeting room to have a two minute read (there is a bell that stops you when your time’s up) to the group. Listeners have 20 seconds to jot down positives and negatives of the read. The agent and publisher are among the audience.
Since I am early, I sign up to be number 4 – not the first, but still in the top so people won’t be too bored. I have read my chosen pages to my writer’s group so I know it’s not that bad.
I read two pages, get belled and sit down. The next 10 writers do the same. I sit through many picture books, rhyming books and who knows what else. My piece is the only YA.
|I paid for this?|
Photo by Dani Simmonds,
Day 2: Saturday
Next day starts at 8, I try to forget about the rudeness and want to “Wow” them and soak up all of their knowledge. After all, they are the “professionals.”
I listen to a writer’s motivational speech on the hardship of being published and see her collection of rejection letters. It is a wonderful speech which shows the progression of the publishing process. The woman has been published for the last ten years and has a diverse collection of children’s verse.
Now I am inspired. The room is freezing, but I am ready to get published. If she can do it, so can I.
The next speaker is the Big Time Agent on query letters.
I sign up to listen. (I paid to come here and hear her insight on “How to get out of the Slush Pile.”) I am ready to take notes and learn. Before the conference, writers could submit a one page query to get it critiqued. I missed the deadline, so I will have to settle for taking notes and absorbing the information.
Big Time Agent: “I am a twenty something-year old agent and work for a firm that you can only dream of getting in. I work in New York, not some hick town like we are in now. I am above you peon writers, so, don’t you forget that.”
|Orange is beautiful. |
Photo by mxruben from www.MorgueFile.com
(BTA looks around the room; sees a cowering woman. Points her finger at the woman.) “Is this YOURS?”
Woman (trying to hide): “No, it isn’t.” (Points to her name tag.) “See, my name is YXXX.”
Big Time Agent: “Hmm, so it is. Well XXXXY, don’t ever send crap like that to me.”
Yikes! I am so glad Big Time Agent does not have my query!
Everyone at my table feels the same way. An hour of this ridicule goes by. Query after query of pointing and seeing people quivering in their chairs. I paid for this?
*** Tune in here on Monday to learn the rest of the story.
Have you had a similar writers conference (or other conference) experience? What behavior do you expect from presenters at conferences? Share your thoughts below.
Lisa blogs at YAEdgyDark. She's hard at work writing one novel while polishing up another.