So here I am blogging about it instead of writing. Instead of putting the finishing touches on Trendy Poseurs Go Home.
This was much grander than the conference I went to in San Francisco in July. There, it was about 50 people, in a small conference room at a Best Western. I didn't even have to check in when I arrived. I could have just walked in and pretended I belonged. Who needs to register and pay? Not that that conference wasn't worth it. I ended up with a pitch that worked well enough to convince three agents to request partials of my Trendy Poseurs manuscript.
I was pleased with that outcome. I am still awaiting responses from two of those agents. One has already responded. Just two days before the Gold Conference, I received a gracious email that said they thought I was a great writer and they discussed my submission at length. However, considering the current trend of publishing YA fiction mainly for girls (i.e. Twilight and the millions of copycats), they could't see a market for my boy-centered story. As rejections go, it could have been much worse.
So going in to this past weekend, I felt pretty swell about my writing skills and hoped to garner more positivity through communion with like-minded people. The conference included hundreds of people at a snazzy hotel and offered a variety of workshops all day Friday and Saturday, and half a day on Sunday. I tried to concentrate on the courses that would give me valuable information about publishing, querying, agents, editors, and the like.
Then the last class I went into on Friday turned my mood a little sour. It was about writing for reluctant readers, which basically means teenage boys, and the presenter was a guy who'd published a YA novel about six years ago but hasn't been able to get published since. His advice: lower the age of your male teenage protagonist, give him a girl sidekick, and add something paranormal. This all came from his agent who wants him to get published again. And it's good advice, I guess. I mean, who am I to say it isn't. Agents know what sells, right?
The Saturday schedule included a pitch session with the agent of your choice. Fortuitously, it turned out, I received an email last Wednesday that said the agent I chose had cancelled, so I was rescheduled with someone else from the same agency and offered a second pitch with anyone else who had an opening. I was a little irritated until I realized that I would now have two pitches instead of one, and that was better. Duh.
|See? Boys read.|
One request was for thirty pages, which was great. I could do that immediately. The other was for the entire manuscript. Which puts a crimp in my neck because I haven't found the time to rewrite the ending that needed to be done after the July conference.
That's pretty much the conference for me. I sat in a helpful class about time management, not because it taught me anything I didn't know, but because they made me sit right there and write out goals and a weekly schedule, stuff I would never do on my own. I've decided I have to write for an hour or more every night, no matter what time I get home, even from late night soccer games. And Saturday night, writer Bernard Cornwell gave a rousing, funny speech that was mostly interesting due to his British accent and timely use of a couple of swears. And Sunday morning there was a good hour where a successful agent gave some specific, practical advice on what turns her off of a manuscript in the first pages.
I also met a couple of people who are part of a critique group in my area and hopefully they can help me get cruising on my Ghosts and Aliens story that stalled out back in June or July. Altogether, successful weekend.