Last Minute Conference Tips!!

Your-First-Writers-Conference

Well…10 more days till the Writer’s Digest Conference. How’s everyone feeling? I’m sure some of you are a tad anxious. Especially, if you’ve never gone to a writing conference before. This is a great one to start with, believe me.

Anyway, I just wanted to wish everyone luck, particularly the ones who are involved in the Pitch Slam. Again, deep breath, you’ll do great!

Here are a few last minute tips:

1. Don’t be shy.

If you asked my friends if I was shy, they would say, “Heck NO!!” And that would be the truth, at least to them. But when I’m with a bunch of strangers, it takes me a little while to let my guard down. So if you’re like that, do your best to open up. I can’t tell you how freeing it was to just let myself kick back, and not be afraid to join in the conversation. Quite honestly, it’s how I learned some things and got more comfortable talking about my own book.

2. Make friends.

Again, this goes back to not being shy. This is a HUGE opportunity for you to meet all types of people. Writers, editors, agents, and others who have a part in the writing industry. Form friendships, and celebrate in the fact that you’re not alone. Learn from one another, and bond over the things you have in common. I met a great group of people while I was there, and I know some of them will be life long friends. When I have writer’s block or when I just can’t seem to get my seat in the chair to write, I’ll text them and they’re great at motivating me back to where I need to be. Writing is about so many other things, than just the words that come from you. I’ve said it before, WE are a tribe. We celebrate each other’s successes, and are there for support during rejection.

3. Take it in strides.

Be prepared to be overwhelmed. There’s a lot of information given to you. But don’t feel like you have to remember everything, or know it all by the time you leave. Writing is a continual learning process. If you feel like you’ve reached an end to that process, well, that means you’re not doing something right. It’s forever moving. Your mind will be so full, that when you leave the conference, you’ll almost be in a daze. Don’t fret, it will all come together.

4. Be prepared.

What do you do with all that information? Well…you’re a writer. Write it down. Or tap it in your IPAD or laptop, whatever you’ve brought to take down notes. Just make sure you have a pen and notebook. Anything. I guess, unless you’re an audio learner, but even then, it’s so much, you’re bound to forget something. I actually brought a messenger bag with pens, highlighters, notepads, my business cards (those are to hand out to fellow writers that you want to keep in touch with. Not agents.), the first few pages of my manuscript, and that was about it. Just make sure, to be prepared.

5. Take a chance.

One great thing I have found at the Writer’s Digest Conference, is how interactive they make it. From the guest speakers, to the agents, editors, etc., they encourage you to ask questions and give you time to actually ask them. DON’T BE SHY!!! I can not stress this enough. Get up there, take that microphone, and ask whatever question your little heart desires. This could be your only chance to ask your question, so do it. I promise you’ll regret it if you don’t. A lot of times I found that someone would ask a question, and it would be the very one that was on my own mind. You’re helping other writers around you, just as much as you are yourself. It gets easier too, after you do it a few times.

6. Don’t put pressure on yourself.

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, that you forget to enjoy the time at the conference. I know it feels like this might be your only chance to find an agent or to sell your book, but it’s not, I promise. This is simply another step. It opens the door for many more things. Yes, there are writers who get signed from the conference. I know of three of them personally, from last year when I went. But the conference is not just about getting signed by an agent. It’s about learning the skills and industry as well. Don’t be so focused on signing with someone that you miss out on some other really good stuff. You’re time is still coming. Don’t get discouraged.

6. Have fun.

This will probably be one of the greatest experiences in your lifetime. Revel in it. If I could go to a week long writing conference like Writer’s Digest, I would do it in a heart beat no matter the cost. There are no words to express how refreshing and how liberating it is for a writer to be surrounded by people who love it just as much as you. Sure, your friends and family are supportive of your writing and dreams, but it isn’t the same when you can talk to someone about how freaking scared you were during the Pitch Slam or that you received 50 rejections from 50 different agents. Nobody understands that better than a fellow comrade in paper. They don’t look at you crazy when you want to just talk about writing for hours, cause they want to do the exact same thing! I’m telling you, I didn’t want to leave. 🙂

And, just a word of advice. If everyone seems a tad anxious on Friday. I promise after the Pitch Slams on Saturday, everyone will be like college kids who just finished their graduate exams. They all breathe a sigh of relief and go, “Oh…that wasn’t so bad.” LOL!

Happy Conference Ya’ll!

And please please, when ya’ll get back, let me know how everything went! Can’t wait to hear!

 

Tips on Pitching to an Agent and what to Expect (In my experience)…Part 2

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Here we are again with Part 2 of pitching to an agent and what to expect. Plus, a few tips on how to prepare. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out Part 1, here’s the link, http://wp.me/p5cSvb-8I. Let’s get right to it then, shall we?

Let’s talk about things you should do prior to the Pitch Slam.

1. First, stop saying 90-seconds. It sounds better when you say 3-minutes, like it’s more time or something. Yes, I know it’s a mental thing, but whatever. Saying 90-seconds is bad. You’ve been telling your friends and family that you have the opportunity to pitch your manuscript, (the one they’ve heard about nonstop for eternity now) to actual agents, face-to-face. They’re super excited for you, until you mention that it’s only for 90-seconds. That’s when they cock their head slightly to the side, and give you a look, “come again? How the crap are you going to do that?” Don’t let that go to your head and don’t freak out about those 3-minutes.

You’re not freaking out anymore, are you? Good. Cause you actually need to make that 3-minute pitch into a 2-minute pitch. “That’s impossible,” you scream. I can actually here you right now. Stop holding your breath! Just breathe and hear me out. You can do it, I promise. How do I know, well, cause I’ve done it. This is not a race where you say an entire paragraph without breathing, and then get up and leave. The agent needs to have enough time to ask questions or hand you that golden ticket, their business card. You need to have enough time to write down what they want. There’s all kinds of scenarios, so as best you can, get that pitch down to 2 minutes.

2. Research the agents. I can not stress this enough!!!! The worst thing you can do is sit down with an agent who only represents nonfiction, and start spouting off your sci-fi novel. That’s not really gonna work out.

Another important reason for research, is that you don’t want them to feel like a number, just like you wouldn’t want them to treat you. Take time to research the agents and find out different things about them. Most, if not all agents, have some type of website or social media that will help you delve into them more, what their interests, likes and dislikes are, or what they represent and what they don’t. Take time to know them, as you would hope one day they would you, if your partnership continues. Prior to me meeting Marisa Corvisiero, I learned from her website, that she has her own law practice as well as her own literary agency. That lady is amazing, if I haven’t already said it. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian, and can even speak some Japanese and Portuguese. I wouldn’t have known that except I did my research. Or the fact, that Kaylee Davis, who is super super sweet by the way, had a family pet rabbit named Dash. (Funny side story, at the cocktail party I asked Kaylee how Dash was, to which she graciously and so kindly told me he had died. I was mortified, of course, that I had asked at all after that. But she was a good sport about it, and found me asking humorous…whew. Shout out Kaylee! And thanks for understanding!)

3. Practice your pitch a lot prior to the conference. A lot. Time yourself, and repeat it to friends, family, and anyone who will listen. I, actually, was so blessed to meet a few fantastic girls the first day at the conference. They were awesome help with listening and giving suggestions for my pitch. It totally helped with my nerves and coming out of my shell when talking about my manuscript. Sure, you love talking with your friends and family about your writing, but it was an entirely new excitement that I can’t quite put into words when I finally talked to other writers that understood the whole journey of ups and downs in writing a manuscript.

When saying your pitch, as best you can, try to make it a natural transfer. Try to look at it like a normal conversation between two friends. It’s super hard when you’re so nervous, but as best you can try not to sound like a robot. Again, agents understand completely how stressful this is. I had one or two give me a nod and a smile, silently speaking to that it was okay and to just take my time. Take a deep breath. You’ll do great!

What exactly do I need to say during my pitch?

Chuck Sambuchino does a fantastic job in explaining this prior to your Pitch Slam. Here are the basics, though. Think of your pitch as the back of a DVD movie description. Just imagine what it would say. Which duh, everyone hopes that their books will become movies or some super fantastic HBO show. So, that’s what you need to picture when describing your manuscript for your pitch. I actually, got some of my fantasy/paranormal movies out and looked at the back of them to get some wording ideas. That’s totally okay! Also, you will need to say at the very beginning of your pitch what the title of your book is (if you have one), genre, word count, and if it’s considered an adult, middle grade, young adult, etc.

So what are you exactly seeking from a Pitch Slam?…(other than the obvious finding an agent to represent you.)

You want a business card. You could say it’s your Golden Ticket, sort of. If an agent gives you a business card that doesn’t mean they’re ready to sign the dotted line of a contract with you, BUT it does mean you just took another step in finding representation. You’ve captured their attention and they’re interested in knowing more. Good Job! That’s half the battle! I actually got business cards from all five agents I pitched to. The writing gods were with me!! LOL!

Should I go in order of agent I want the most to least, or just go to whichever line is the shortest at the time?

Again, this is your own preference. Some choose lines because they’re shorter. Their main goal is to pitch to as many agents in their genre, as possible. Others go by the agent they’re most interested in and go from there. They’re willing to wait in line for that certain agent, sacrificing possibly having time with two others. Just keep in mind though, that an hour and a half goes by quickly, and it would be terrible to miss out on pitching to the number one agent you wanted, just because you ran out of time. I preferred, the route of going from my top choice agent to my last pick. I also looked at the table map that was given ahead of time, to see exactly where my agents sat. I was in luck that two of them sat at tables next to each other. That saved time in itself. (P.S. you will be given the table map either in you’re welcome packet or during the, Pitch Perfect session, with Chuck Sambuchino.)

How many agents will I be able to pitch to during my pitch session?

Well, that’s really up to you, and how well you prepare. The Writer’s Conference website constantly updates new agents that will be at the Pitch Slam. They give you plenty of time to see which ones are right for you, so that you can map out who you want to see first, second, and so on. If you get there early like I suggested, than you’re closer to the front when they open the doors. You can be one of the first people to enter and head straight to your first pitch with the agent of your choice.

You can pitch to as many agents as you like, and have time for. Plan from anywhere between five and seven agents to pitch to. That way, if one cancels, you still have others to choose from. You don’t want to wander around because you didn’t do your research on enough agents and you still had time to pitch. Let’s get real here too, you paid for this, so make the most of it. It would be terrible to pitch to three agents and then have to twiddle your thumbs for the rest of the time because you weren’t prepared. Just remember, most of your time is used up waiting in line. I’ve heard of some people getting to pitch to up to eight agents. It just depends. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get to all of them. Just make the ones you do see, count. Quality, is better than quantity at times.

I pitched to five out of the six agents I wanted. The only reason I didn’t get to the sixth was because one of them canceled at the last-minute. (The conference workers are very good at letting you know if an agent has had to cancel before you have your pitch session, so don’t worry about that.)

Can I give the agent my business card or my query letter during my pitch session?

NOOOOOO! Do not hand the agent, anything. I can’t stress that, enough. Can you imagine if everyone gave an agent just the first page of their manuscript? That would be a ton for them to carry around! I wouldn’t want to do it and neither do they. I promise you, if you get a business card from them, you’ll definitely be giving them some things soon enough.

Is there anything in particular I need to bring to my Pitch session?

A pen is an absolute necessity (one that works, obviously). Hopefully, the agent is going to give you a card and tell you exactly what they want you to send them after the conference. Keep in mind, no agent is going to want the exact same thing. Believe me, you will have so much adrenaline rushing in, and your brain will be mush once the Pitch Slam is over, so you won’t remember much. It’s kinda like your wedding, if any of you have been married you know what I’m talking about. A lot of preparation prior to, and then BAM! It’s over and you’re so exhausted you can’t remember half of it. Thank goodness for wedding photos.

Anyway, keep that pen handy. Hold it in your hand the entire time if you have to. You don’t want to be digging around in your bag for it. I suggest, when the agent hands you their card, you jot down immediately on the back of it, exactly what that particular agent wanted. Otherwise, you might end up forgetting something, and send the wrong stuff. That would be a travesty. Like…seriously. Other than that, there really isn’t anything you HAVE to bring with you. You can bring a copy of your pitch for yourself in case you forget exactly what you need to say. But ,I would recommend you not read it from the page when pitching. If you can help it at all, memorize that bad boy way before you even get to the conference. During your Pitch Perfect Session with Chuck, he may tell you a few things you might want to tweak on your pitch, but at least for the most part you won’t have to start from scratch re-memorizing it.

What if the agent doesn’t give me a business card?

Well, move along then. Thank them regardless for the opportunity and their time. Because their time is important. They don’t have to be at these conferences. They choose to be. They want to have the opportunity to hear your pitch but not every single one is the right fit. Don’t get discouraged. Every agent just like you, have their own tastes. Don’t take it to heart. Remember, in this business there is A LOT of rejection. I repeat, a lot of rejection. The right agent might be the very next table. Keep your chin up!

Whatever you do…DO NOT argue with an agent about your pitch or manuscript. Be gracious, even when the agent tells you that they’re sorry and it’s not something they see would be a good fit for them. You want your agent to love your manuscript and the ideas behind it as much as you do. (There was a story going around last year that someone from a previous conference actually lunged towards an agent because she told him it wasn’t for her. Seriously guy, you just murdered your career before it even started. Can you say, psycho?) If you snap something back to them, or worse, no one would ever touch you after that, even if your manuscript was made of gold and shot out stars from the pages. Don’t do it. Be professional, and even if you believe the agent is wrong, don’t show it. Have some respect for their experience and knowledge. If anything, keep your own dignity and have some self-respect. There are plenty of agents out there.

Can an agent stop me in the middle of my pitch?

Absolutely. Don’t be surprised if they do. Sometimes, it’s to ask questions. Which is actually, a good thing. Answer them as best you can, and continue on with your pitch if they still want you to. I wasn’t as prepared for this, as I thought. All you focus goes into your pitch prior to the conference, and basically all the way up until you finish your pitch session. Gina Panettieri, started asking me questions in the middle of mine, and I was so thrown off. But duh, that was a super good thing she asked questions. She was intrigued! Other times, it’s because they’ve heard enough to love it, and want to give you a business card. Some unfortunately, after a sentence or two realize it’s really not something they’re interested in. That’s okay. They’re actually doing you a favor. You can go ahead and move on to the next agent you wanted to pitch to. You don’t have to stay there for the full 3-minutes (I’ll talk about this in just a second). The agent, is actually being respectful to you, by saving time that you could spend with another agent who might be interested.

Do I have to use my entire 3-minutes with an agent?

Well, there’s two parts to that question.

Let’s say you pitch so fast and get all your feedback from the agent before that 3-minutes is up. I know it sounds crazy, but it happens. If you’ve practiced your pitch enough times, it can flow pretty quickly. You can choose to stay until your 3-minutes are up, or you can choose to give it to the next person in line. In my opinion, I believe that the admirable thing to do is giving the next person extra time if your finished. Obviously, you would love for someone to give extra time if the roles were reversed. Remember, this isn’t a competition. Writers are a tribe. We stick together and encourage. If we truly want to be a good writer, then it goes past the words we put on the page. We respect and help each other.

The second part to that question is this, and boy, did I not know it. You can actually sit past your 3-minutes if the agent is still talking to you about your manuscript. Now, I won’t tell you that the people behind you won’t be a little upset, and obviously the ONLY reason you should stay seated after the bell is because of this situation. Again, it’s all about respect, and you don’t want to eat into someone else’s time. The agents notice that stuff. But, in my case again, I was pitching to Gina. She was still asking questions when the bell rang. I got up thinking that I absolutely had to, which meant I rushed the last of my answers. (She still asked for my full manuscript, which was SUPER exciting. I basically floated around the rest of the Pitch Slam). So, just heads up if this happens. Again, try to be respectful to the other people in line, though.

Well, that’s it. Or at least, the main things I believe are important. Feel free to comment with your own suggestions if you’ve pitched before, or if you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them if I can. I really, really hope this helps everyone! To the people who are going to the conference, good luck! You’ll do fantastic! It is going to be one of the most exciting times in your life! Enjoy!

I wasn’t able to download any of my own pictures of the conference last year, but here’s a link to the Writer’s Digest website, https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/83905/219684/, that shows a bunch of pictures from the 2014 conference. There are even some pictures before and during the Pitch Slam, so you can get an idea of what it’s like.

Happy Pitching Ya’ll!!

 

 

 

Tips on Pitching to an Agent and what to Expect (In my experience)…Part 1

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Well, it’s finally here. The month you’ve been waiting for. That is, if you’re going to the Annual Writer’s Digest Conference in New York on July 31st. Oh! It’s so exciting!! I can’t tell you the anticipation I felt last year as I prepared during the final days for my trip. It was going to be the true beginning of my adventure towards publishing and really learning the industry.

I would have the opportunity to not only meet fellow writers who were also embarking on their writing journey, but also agents, published authors, editors, and publishers. For three days, I was going to be able to soak up like a sponge as much knowledge as I could from them. My heart is pounding just thinking about it. For a writer who has just finished their manuscript and is ready to take the next step, it can be thrilling as much as terrifying and overwhelming.

But, as I have said many times before, the experience is priceless. It gives you so many opportunities. Even without taking part in the Pitch Slam (one-on-one pitching to an agent), you still receive a wealth of knowledge, meet some super cool people, and possibly develop lifelong friendships with some fellow writers.

If you’re like me though, the Pitch Slam, for the most part was the only thing I could focus on. What was it going to be like? How could I possibly explain my book in 90- seconds? Are the agents approachable? Are they going to shake their head and say, “don’t quit your day job.” What was I going to wear? (Yes, I’m a girl, so I most definitely asked that question.)

Believe me, all those thoughts and more are completely natural. So what did I do to find out those questions? I took to the internet trying to read any shred of information and personal experiences others had while pitching to an agent. After all, it’s a HUGE deal to even get 90-seconds of face-to-face time with a literary agent. It doesn’t sound like much, but truly it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Think about how many writers send hundreds of queries and never get more than a polite form email rejection. Not even a phone conversation to actually talk to that agent you dreamed of, before getting that electronic rejection. (Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why agents have to send you those emails. They’re swamped! More than you understand until you go to a conference and really see the magnitude of it all.) But you, you lucky devil, get 90-seconds of awesomeness because you signed up for the Pitch Slam.

So, let me answer a few questions about the Pitch Slam and what to expect when pitching to an agent. Hope this helps!!!

First, let’s start with the easiest.

What was I going to wear?

Here’s the thing, you may have written your entire manuscript in sweat pants and a holey t-shirt in your basement. Cool, whatever works for you. But, would you wear that on a job interview? Probably not. Whatever and wherever you were applying in most cases, you would want to look professional. Well, that’s sort of what your doing when you meet these agents. You are both choosing each other. Would you want representation from an agent who hasn’t washed his/her hair in a couple of days and wears their ratty yard work t-shirt and biker shorts to the office? Ummmm…no. Be professional. Your clothes can say a lot about you. And first impressions are important. There’s not really a do-over in this one. You want the agent to take you and your work seriously. They’re investing in you just as much as you’re investing in them. This is a simple very easy step to get the process rolling. Now, I don’t want you to feel like you have to wear a ball gown or a tuxedo. I’m not saying that all. It’s super important that you’re comfortable. You don’t want to be so focused on the six-inch heels you decided to wear or the super tight belt that you can’t breathe in. And I would suggest no blue jeans. Will they kick you out if that’s what you wear? No. But, with all the styles and variety of clothes out there I’m sure you can find a nice/professional but casual outfit without wearing jeans. I opted for a long maxi skirt and a sleeveless blouse with nice sandals. Again, the choice is yours.

What should I expect before and during my Pitch Slam session?

Well, complete and utter chaos. No! I’m only kidding. LOL. Inside, you might feel like that as you prepare to spout out the writings of your soul, but truly the people who work for Writer’s Digest, have organized it well and it goes smoothly. As we say in the south, “this isn’t their first rodeo.” I would suggest highly, that you arrive an hour ahead of time for your pitch session. Even if it means you missing another class you signed up for. You need that time to practice your pitch and mentally get ready for what’s next. Not to mention it helps to get in line early. Cause, yes, there will be lines. (More on that in a minute). Last year, the way they had it set up was, you stood in a little lobby area, (I think it was called the Palm Room). There are two closed double doors leading into a massive room. Employees and agents walk in and out of the doors periodically as you wait. As it gets closer to the time to start, someone will come out and go over a few things with you like how the 90-second time limit would work, etc. Once, they open the doors, I kinda felt like it was the beginning of a horse race when they released the gate and the alarm sounded. Don’t worry no one tramples each other and there is no loud trumpet sounding, except for maybe in your own head. The agents are lined at tables around the huge room. Each has a sheet behind them saying who they are and what agency they represent. Hopefully, you know that already because you researched them before you got there. Next, be prepared to wait. Remember, how I said there would be lines? Well, obviously if you have 200 writers in a room with only like 50 agents there’s bound to be lines. Now, I believe this year’s conference offers more Pitch Slam Sessions so the lines possibly won’t be as long. Again, they did a beautiful job in being organized so it’s really not as bad as you might imagine it. There is a separate table with a few Writer’s Digest employees who will oversee progress and control the 90-second timer or bell. Listen for the bell! This is when your time either begins or ends depending on what you’re doing.

Don’t be embarrassed…about anything!

First off, agents are people too. Don’t forget that. They totally understand that this is your dream and that your a ball of nerves. The agents I was able to pitch to, were patient and really made me feel at ease as they listened to be intently. You would think they would be distracted by the buzz of all the people or the other person pitching to another agent only inches next to you. But they don’t. Every one of them I pitched to made me feel like in those 90-seconds, I was the only one in the room with them. Hopefully, even by this time, you’ve had the opportunity to interact with some or attend a class they taught the previous day. This helps immensely with your anxiety. Try as best you can to make it a conversation between two people and not anything more than that. I have to give a shout out to, Marisa Corvisiero from the Corvisiero Agency. Her class was the first class I attended at the conference and it was fantastic. A few of us even had the opportunity to read the first couple of pages of our manuscript to her and the rest of the class. (Side note, if you have the option to take this class, DO IT. This helped me soooo much in terms of not being as nervous when I pitched to an agent. If you can read your first few pages to an agent and an entire class, then the one-on-one with the agents in your Pitch Slam makes you tremendously less nervous. I promise you.) Anyway, she was so awesome in the class, and taught me some things right there about my manuscript I had no idea about. She was the very first agent I pitched to during my session, and she greeted me like we were old friends. She truly put me at ease right away and because of her kindness it help me flow through the rest of my session. The jitters were still there but she really made things a lot easier. Thank you so much Marisa!!!

The second thing, don’t be embarrassed standing in line talking to yourself. When I tell you everyone does it, that’s the truth. Sure you might talk to a few people while you’re standing in line but for the most part they’re doing exactly what your doing. Repeating over and over in their head their pitch. If you need to do it out loud, do it! No one will notice, I promise. You’ll be surprised how many actually are doing the same thing.

Whew! Apparently, I had a lot more to say about the Pitch Slam than I thought. I’m going to end Part 1 here, but please come back and read Part 2 tomorrow, on more of my own experience and tips I learned along the way.

Happy Pitching Ya’ll!!!

Quick Little Info!

I know…I know…its been weeks since I’ve blogged! Crazy life stuff has been keeping me busy as I’m sure everyone has experienced one time or another. Anyway, sadly I won’t be able to attend any of these this year, but I wanted to share a list of upcoming writing conferences in case anyone else might be able to attend. Good luck and happy writing ya’ll!

Agent-Conference Opportunities There are plenty of opportunities for writers to meet agents face to face at writers’ conferences and pitch their work in 2015. Remember: Meeting agents in person is a great way to get past the slush pile. If an agent is interested in your work and requests a sample or book proposal, you can write “Requested Material” on your submission, making sure it gets a fair read and consideration. Know that there are two types of conferences. There are general writers’ conferences, that address a variety of subjects, and then there are specialized conferences, which usually tend to focus on a single genre-such as western, romance, or mystery. You will find both kinds in this list below.

Carolina Writing Conferences, Columbia, SC (April 17) and Charlotte, NC (April 18) Attending agents: Sam Morgan (Jabberwocky Literary); Melissa Jeglinski (The Knight Agency); Diana Flegal (Hartline Literary); Cherry Weiner (Cherry Weiner Literary); and Robin Mizell (Robin Mizell Literary Representation).

Las Vegas Writers Conference, April 23-25, 2015, Las Vegas, NV Attending agents: Pam van Hylckama Vlieg (D4EO Literary); Paul Lucas (Janklow & Nesbit); and Caitlan Rubino Bradway (LKG Agency).

Northeast Texas Writers Conference, April 24-25, 2015, Mt. Pleasant, TX Attending agents: Cherry Weiner (Cherry Weiner Literary).

Milwaukee Writing Conference, May 15, 2015, Milwaukee, WI Attending agents: Jennie Goloboy (Red Sofa Literary); Laura Crockett (Triada US Literary); Abby Saul (Browne & Miller Literary); Elizabeth Evans (Jean V. Naggar Literary); Jodell Sadler (Sadler Children’s Literary); and Dawn Frederick (Red Sofa Literary).

Chicago Writing Workshop, May 16, 2015, Chicago, IL Attending agents: Marcy Posner (Folio Literary); Jen Karsbaek (Fuse Literary); Jennifer Mattson (Andrea Brown Literary); Tina Schwartz (The Purcell Agency); Dan Balow (Steve Laube Literary); Jodell Sadler (The Sadler Agency); and Laura Crockett (Triada US Literary).

Pennwriters Conference, May 15-17, 2015, Pittsburgh, PA Attending agents: Danielle Chiotti (Upstart Crow Literary); Uwe Stender (TriadaUS Literary); and June Clark (FinePrint Literary).

Books-in-Progress Writers Conference, June 5-6, 2015, Lexington, KY Attending agents: Adriann Ranta (Wolf Literary); and Melissa Flashman (Trident Media).

SoCal Mystery Writers of America Conference, June 6-7, 2015, Culver City, CA Attending agents: Joshua Bilmes (JABberwocky Literary); Jessica Faust (BookEnds Literary); and Kimberley Cameron (Kimberley Cameron Literary).

Jackson Hole Writers Conference, June 25-27, 2015, Jackson Hole, WY Attending agents: Sarah Levitt (Zoë Pagnamenta Agency); Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein (McIntosh & Otis); Katherine Fausset (Curtis Brown, Ltd); and Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman Associates).

Writer’s Digest Conference East, July 31 – Aug. 2, 2015, New York, NY The website is live, and we have 47 agents already confirmed to be there. The conference’s Pitch Slam features more than 50 literary agents to pitch.

Is it time again already!?!

Untitled 66Soooo…of course I am a huge fan of the Writer’s Digest Conference since I was able to experience it first hand last August. Icing on the cake is that it’s in New York City, my most favorite city in the WHOLE world!

Anyway, like I’ve said before, if you’re a writer and you can go to a writing conference, DO IT. They are priceless in so many ways and totally worth your money!

This particular conference though, gives you even more of an immeasurable experience with it’s well know Pitch Slam. It’s incredible. You, along with a group of other writers can pitch your manuscript to agents in 1 of 3, 1-hour sessions of your choice. There’s like 50 different agents or more for you to choose from. 50 AGENTS! When do you have the opportunity to look an agent eye to eye and get their one-on-one attention any other time when you’re in the querying process? Very rarely if ever. This alone is worth you going.

Pitch Slam is scary, amazing, nerve-wracking, and unbelievable all at once. I simply, love it. 🙂 Truly, I just can’t say enough good things about this conference.

So with that said here’s a preview: Hope you get to go!!!

Writer's Digest Annual Conference

Hello there!
I hope you are doing well and getting a lot of writing done during these chilly winter months.
I’m thrilled to announce the details of the 2015 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference, once again taking place in New York City the weekend of July 31–August 2. It’s my favorite writing event of the year, jam-packed with great speakers, special events, and hundreds of energized, attentive attendees.

This year, we’re once again hosting our massive Pitch Slam, with more than fifty agents and editors in attendance, ready and willing to hear about your book. As with last year, we’ll be running a minimum of three one-hour pitch sessions with a limited number of writers permitted into each one. It’s an exciting, energizing, exhilarating experience that gives you an opportunity to meet with the industry pros who are actively looking for new talent to represent or publish.

As in the past, we’ll have stellar educational tracks devoted to publishing and self-publishing, platform and promotion, and the craft of writing. But I’m even happier to announce we’ve added two new tracks of education. The Business of Being an Author examines what it takes to live the writer’s life, think like an entrepreneur, and manage your writing like, well, a business. And our new Genre Studies track will provide you with a full roster of sessions devoted to a wide variety of genres, enabling us to dig down into what makes each genre tick, what their respective audiences want, and how to excel in each.

We’ll also have dozens of fantastic speakers and instructors, including New York Times bestsellers Jonathan Maberry, Hallie Ephron and M.J. Rose, self-publishing sensation G.P. Ching, and Writer Beware co-founder Victoria Strauss. The program is still in its early days and there are many more big names to come. Keep your eyes peeled—we’ll announce new speakers regularly!
Finally, be sure to join us on Saturday night for our massive cocktail party and author signing, plus a number of other social activities during which you can network, share war stories, good news, or even form a new writers group.

It’s going to be our biggest and best event yet. I sincerely hope you can join us. The Early-Bird deadline is March 9, so be sure to register right away!

I look forward to seeing you this summer.

Phil Sexton
Keep writing
Phil
Phil Sexton
Publisher, Writer’s Digest
Twitter @psexton1
Register Now!