Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Writer's Digest Conference East 2013 (My big news!)

3 comments:
 
Close your eyes...
Wait, open them so you can read.

You are a writer. 
Cloaked in social awkwardness and dreams of self isolation.  Imaginary characters and/or vivid memories make homes in your head... tea time on your shoulders, and take naps between your toes.  Your characters' thoughts float in and around your mind, sometimes clearer than your own, tip-toeing their way through your veins, erupting in goosebumps and animating your fingertips - teasing you to give them life or reincarnate them on a page.
You are writer.
You are weird.

Imagine hundreds of these strange folks in one place for a weekend.
Scary?
To you maybe. To me it was a place I knew I belonged.



That's right, folks.  This weekend was the annual Writer's Digest Conference East and I gave UP my conference virginity like I had daddy-issues and it was the captain of the football team!  It took place at the Sheraton New York Hotel in NYC and was chock full of helpful panels, boot camps and programs run by agents, editors and industry insiders to help provide a flashlight in the often dark and scary world of publishing.  It also featured keynote speakers James Scott Bell, Adriana Trigiani and Tayari Jones.  But... perhaps most importantly (or at least what was likely most highly anticipated) was the infamous Saturday Pitch Slam!

For those of you unfamiliar with a Pitch Slam it is a timed event where writers seeking publication of their book or novel has an opportunity to "pitch" to an agent or editor to help sell their book.  In this case, we had an hour and a half to pitch to as many agents as possible. 3 minutes with each agent. 90 seconds to pitch, 90 seconds for feedback.

Yikes. 

Needless to say for the odd breed of human being I described above, this is not always the best representation of the book (WRITE-ers not TALK-ers).  However, it provides a unique opportunity to stand out from the slush pile and advocate for your book.  The lawyer still lurking inside of me was like a hungry pit bull on a leash.   What's for muther-effin lunch? (My inner lawyer is a bad-ass)

The writer I actually am was scared shitless.

The slam was divided in two sessions - I signed up for the first.  An hour before it started I went to check out the room and people were already lining up! I jumped on board and landed the fourth spot on line meeting a few awesome women I practiced my pitch on.  They told me to slow down!  I listened.  When 11am hit, I may have vomited a little, but I choked it back, scurried in and headed over to my first agent...
"HiI'mFayeMcCray,my73,000wordcompletednovel....."
Deep breath.
Results: 8 Agents.  1 Editor = 6 requests for material (including the editor), 2 invitations to query (wha? but I just...) and 1 NO (from Kristin, ya'll! Remember how much I love her - still do!).  I walked away with 8 golden tickets (a.k.a, agent/editor cards).

Not bad for my first time!

The rest of the conference was fantastic.  Adriana Trigiani was funny and fabulous and Tayari Jones made me cry... she reminded us all to never give up on our art because the doors will open - you just have to be persistent, prepared and passionate.  "You already have everything you need..." she reminded us again and again. 

In addition to my take-aways from the pitch slam, I got two more invitations to query at the cocktail party, met an awesome group of novelists and screenwriters who want to start a writing group, and made another writer friend who is just as tall as I am (we unofficially became conference bffs).  I also got to spend the weekend with my beloved city which... well you know... New York is and will always be my first love.

Overall, it was AMAZING, I am hooked and I am more convinced than ever that writing is exactly what I was meant to do.

Oh, and my big news? I went to my first conference! Haven't you been reading?!?!

I love a good cliffhanger. 

Love and Light,
 Faye

3 comments:

  1. YAY!!!! Congratulations on getting through that and, apparently, kicking butt and taking names... er.... business cards. Requests for queries - slam dunk! Mission accomplished. I'm looking forward to hearing what's next.

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  2. Congrats! Agents are like not so hungry wolves who don't want to eat you, just chew you up a bit. At least, that's how they seem. You are so right! Writers=talkers.... Not so much! Again, congrats!!

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  3. Congratulations on all your exciting news...and congratulations on the request from MacKenzie!! To answer your question on my blog: I originally queried Kim Whalen on January 8th, who asked for the full and then a revise and resubmit. After I got an offer from another agent, I notified Kim. She got back to me and said she wanted me to be a Trident client, but her list was full, and asked if I would be interested in working with MacKenzie...we talked...and you know the rest. Anyway, from the date of the first MS request, it took about 11 weeks, but I do know MacKenzie is trying to get back to authors within a month.

    I'm posting an interview with her on my blog May 1st.

    Good luck to you, I wish you all the very best!

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