One of the most useful steps I took in the road to getting published was to attend writers conferences. It’s something I recommend to all up-and-coming writers who are having trouble getting their work to that next level. Since not all writers conferences are created equally, here’s a review from one that a friend of mine recently attended, in his own words:
The New York Writers are a non-profit, set-up by writers for writers, and the “group leaders” really looked after their people. Even on the last day, they would be pulling someone from a group (scheduled to see a certain editor) and putting them in another group, saying, “she doesn’t do fantasy, whereas this is what the other editor is primarily looking for.” Things like that are always good signs. And they put you in front of three editors. The local conferences charge more and only put you in front of an agent.
The rest of my class loved my pitch and one or two kept talking about it being published, (which didn’t help me as I was trying to keep it low key and not get ahead of myself) and everyone (including editors) loved the title. The first editor (Penguin) remarked that the book was too long, and all in all I didn’t get a positive vibe, but she had a pretty stoic expression for everyone and I assumed she wasn’t interested because of the length. During the Q&A, I was the one asking most of the questions, as people were sitting there and I felt embarrassed for her. Anyway the instructor read out manuscripts (first 3 chapters) she wanted to see and I was one of seven people. So far so good. The second editor (Scribner) asked me what I was reading. She kept me talking and I got a good vibe from her, and sure enough at the end she asked for only two complete manuscripts to be sent, mine and another guy’s. So by this time I was the only one with a 100% record from both editors.
On Sunday it was the editor and publisher of Soho Press. She loved the title, asked how many words, and as soon as I told her, she told me flat out it was too long and they were looking for 80-100,000 words for a first novel (which i could understand, printing costs, etcetera) so by the end of the conference I was 2 for 3. Not bad, and I can honestly say I’d have thought it was worth it even if I got 0 for 3. Just to get in front of them and pitch like that. If you know anyone interested in it, I would thoroughly recommend it. The New York Writers Perfect Pitch Conference.
No, I’m not being paid for this little announcement. Just passing the word along to any who might be in the market for a conference, but don’t know where to look.