Summer Is… Writing Conference Season

It is summer, therefore I am preparing to attend writing conferences. A writing conference, be it a one day or full week event provides a wonderful atmosphere in which to learn and grow as a writer.

I have been attending writing conferences for a number of years—first to learn my craft, then to learn the writing business, then to make professional contacts, and this year, in addition to my love doing these first three things (I could be an eternal student if only I could choose my own courses and get paid for taking them!) I go to explore author/agent relationships.

During this past year, I have completed two novels. Therefore it is time I begin meeting literary agents with the objective of:

  • getting to know them as real people with individualized tastes and preferences
  • pitching my novels
  • and learning more about the “Agent Quest” process and author/agent relationships in general.

A week from Friday I will be attending the 42nd Annual Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon. This is a three-day event with a list of workshops and classes that range from fiction to nonfiction writing, poetry to freelancing to writing for children, the writing process, the revision and editing process, the submission process, the writing business, and how to build a platform and promote your work in this field of a zillion voices.

I will be able to  meet individually with three agents, and I will be pitching to three others in a group setting as well. I am so excited!

Aside from signing up for the conference and drooling over all the sessions I wish I could attend (I’d need two or three of me to make that work.), I realized it really is time I prepare to meet my selected agents and pitch my novels to them (One pitch per agent, mind you, unless you are invited to discuss your other work).

So, what will I be doing this next week and (eek!) one day? I will be preparing a concise description of each novel for its  pitch, and I will be googling my selected agents and reading not just their agency websites, but any blogs or interviews, etc. they might have done.

Suddenly this conference I’ve been waiting so long to attend, seems to be just around the corner. Its nearness gives me the jitters. But when I attend, I will arrive prepared to enjoy the classes and workshops and to make the most of my opportunities to talk to people who may be able to advise me or further my career.


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