Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Writer's Conference Recap

I feel a little like Chris Harrison after a particularly awful episode of The Bachelor right now. But, rest assured, I will not be passing out any roses or kissing nine people in the same evening - promising each one of them that kiss meant more to me than any of the others. (Who am I kidding? I'd be the kissing bandit, too. PUCKER UP, BABY!)

Okay, back to the blog: This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend my first Writer's Conference - and what an experience it was. I was a little anxious day #1, largely because I HATE mingling with people I don't know. (I find small talk incredibly uncomfortable and a waste of air). I arrived right at 8:30 and took a seat at a table with seven empty seats and one guy filling the taken one. Zach, my table mate, introduced himself to me and instantly put me at ease...what a nice guy! (And cute, too...sorry ladies - I think he was gay). Anyway, I slowly grew more comfortable and soon a cute, little blonde gal came and sat beside me. (I was surrounded by cuties!!) We chatted here and there and it turns out...she's an agent. After she heard my rehearsed description of the story (nearly choking at one point when you sort of have that nervous lump that appears and you...ugh, cannot talk for a moment) she asked me to send her some pages (50) so she could review it. COOL!

Later that day I met with two other agents. One had read 50 pages before I arrived and we discussed her opinions of the manuscript. First she said, "You write very, very well." (SWEET!), she liked the story, but had some confusion with timing and also was concerned that maybe the book shouldn't be pitched as a YA but instead Women's Fiction... news to me, but I was up for her comments and agreed with what she had to say. After some discussion/clarification she suggested I make the revisions we'd discussed and send her more pages. (Again...SWEET!)

Second agent just talked to me and ...honestly, I don't think she really wanted to be at the conference. She said the book, based on what I told her was definitely YA and that it didn't matter if anyone knew he Penny Flemming was because they'd find out when the book was published. (Um...who is Penny Flemming?) At any rate, I appreciated her feedback but was left even more STUMPED than two hours earlier.

WHAT GENRE IS THIS BOOK?

After an encouraging first day I returned day 2 to about half the participants as the first day (hello!! you're wasting money, people!) and was starting to consider the day a bit of a snore...when I met my third and final agent for a consult. WOW! Can you say - "I DIG THAT CHICK!"? Seriously, what a cool woman. Not only was she comfortable in her own skin and clearly became an agent for her love of books and words -but she was engaging and genuine and actually asked me questions about ME, suggested things for the book and as we departed said, "I like the Peggy Flemming thing...it's quirky." (I am pretty sure I love this woman). She also asked that I send her the first 50 pages of the story, which, by the way, she thinks sounds like a Women's Fiction novel, too!

So, there you have it. I survived my first writer's conference. Felt like I was supposed to be there and came out feeling hopeful about what might happen. That said - I am setting Peggy free and not worrying about her anymore. Whatever will be, will be. I've edited, rewritten, cursed at and massaged her as many times as I can. Until someone else wants to take the reigns and guide me toward publication...I'm taking a rest and seeing where the proverbial shit falls.