My mind is foggy after two full days of networking, listening to presentations by agents, editors and publicists, and pitching my memoir.
This SDSU (San Diego State University) writers’ conference is known for being intense, especially when so many are hoping to get an agent or editor to fall in love with their work.
Here’s how the pitching sessions work. Prior to the conference, you’re allowed to select one agent or editor to do an advanced reading of your your first ten pages, and as many consultations as you wish to pay for.
Numbered tables are set up in a large room and each agent or editor sits at his/her allocated table. Approximately fifty or so nervous and excited writers line up outside the room and charge into the room when told. Just like spectators chancing their luck in the streets of Pamplona, Spain, during the bull-running, here we are fifty or so writers chancing our luck at landing an agent or an editor. A bell rings two minutes before the session is over, and you realize your ten precious minutes are up.
During my third appointment, another woman took my seat. I couldn’t believe it. Had I made a mistake? It so happens she missed her 1 p.m., meeting and arrived at my 1:12 appointment instead. There am I waiting for her to get out of the chair as the clock is ticking. She’s negotiating with the agent to give her another appointment. Meanwhile, I’m losing precious time, but fortunately this agent liked my pitch and requested 50 pages.
If you’ve attended a writers’ conference, you’ll understand the mixture of emotions that comes from a weekend of intense workshops, networking, and getting the attention of an agent or editor. It’s exhausting for all attendees, and I admire the agents and editors for coming to the west coast from New York, where numerous canceled flights and delays due to snow, caused them to wait for hours at the airport.
So how did it go? I’ve been asked to submit 50-70 pages to two agents, my first chapter to two, and invited to contact three others. I am now on the second phase of my journey, and feel like a nap right now, before I can cope with the marketing proposal I have to work on.
By the way, all agents and editors, expect an online presence and about 10-20,000 unique hits per month. That’s significant. If you have figured out how, please share with us.