2010 OWFI Part II

I promised a little more personal information about my very first writers’ conference, so here goes …

My dad joined me for the first two days there. He wanted to be sure I knew he wasn’t there to “handhold” me, but rather he wanted to support me in this very visible way. What a sweet gesture! I won’t forget it.

I met with an agent from NY in a one-on-one session. I can’t say the meeting was terribly successful – partly my fault and partly hers. The fault with me was basically inexperience. I didn’t consider early enough that I would have to explain my book verbally with no notes and no computer, and I certainly had no idea how to talk to an agent. She wanted me to boil down my 117,000-word plot into 2 sentences. Then, when I tried (not very successfully, honestly, even though I had prepared at least that much), she asked how the book ended. When I explained the ending, she wanted to know how the ending occurred. Trying to explain a character’s journey over 40 chapters by answering, “Well, why did THAT happen?” is not easy, no matter what the genre, but most especially paranormal/supernatural, which tends to be complicated by mythology. The fault with her was most likely a difference in personality. She was brusque, impatient and probably tired from all the meetings. In addition, she seemed somewhat lacking in her understanding of today’s technological market (she couldn’t understand how to use a Blackberry so returned it for a “regular” cell phone; she also scorned the Kindle and the iPad). To sum up, our meeting was not “written in the stars.”

I met (more informally) another agent. I will certainly query him about one of my books. However, whether or not that query is ultimately successful, I learned a lot from him. He was entertaining, kind and informative. Even his informal “buzz” late-night bar sessions were great. The subject, of course, was the publishing industry, and he seemed quite upbeat about the future, although he admits the industry is in flux and is pretty frustrating now. One very interesting point to keep in mind for all wannabe published authors is that it takes a LONG time to publish a book, even once an agent accepts you. He says that editors can take months to review books, and the time period isn’t because they are being difficult; they are simply terribly overworked.

Another notable thing about the conference was its sheer all-consuming nature. We talked about the art (and work) of writing for two solid days during sessions, at breakfast, over lunch, and all through dinner. I was exhausted at the end of the conference, but also energized. I’m already planning on attending my next conference, but perhaps it’ll be somewhere like San Diego so my family can tag along and we can vacation after. I think I’ll need the rest!

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About txsunshine

I'm a daughter, wife, mother of two, PTA volunteer (way too many hours), church goer, liberal-leaning transplanted Texan. I love to write (boy, do I love to write), watch good TV and talk to other people. I also love sports (when my kids play) and spending time with friends and family. I believe that our society would flourish if we lived the Golden Rule ... really, truly lived it.
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6 Responses to 2010 OWFI Part II

  1. Heather says:

    Great insight and what a great experience!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Alex says:

    I like the differences in the agents and how you felt more comfortable with one than the other. After all, it’s a relationship that ideally you’d be in for several years on a professional level, so you’d want to feel like you and your agent are on the same page. No pun intended. 🙂

  3. Lucie says:

    I had a great time at the conference and especially enjoyed meeting you. I’m bookmarking this blog!

    To me the most valuable thing I gained at the conference is that same industry knowledge you refer to and contacts with you and a few other writers. I came back energized and sent out a sample on Tuesday. No word back yet except that he received it. No matter what happens I’m learning.

    With support from my family I’ve been working on some changes to my novel recommended by another agent, the same person you describe in one of these posts. The new ending is great! I’m not sure how to add back 20,000 words without losing forward motion, so I’ve set a goal to just add 5,000.

    Hope to see you again soon!

    Lucie

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