As another step in my writing career, I attended the three-day conference in Pittsburgh, PA. I went with specific goals in mind. If I could accomplish X, Y, and Z, I’d call the conference a success.
For me, I wanted to break free of shyness and my introvert tendencies. I wanted to meet people, introduce myself, and discuss writing and our works. If I could do that, I’d call it a success.
I accomplished the above-mentioned items. I met many people, fellow writers and authors, including one from Alaska and another from near Toronto, Canada. I met published authors like Ridley Pearson, who was the Friday Evening Keynote speaker and several agents and editors. I spoke with several workshop presenters, authors in their own right sharing their wisdom. I’ll write other posts about the sessions later. I even met several faculty from from the Seton Hill’s MFA program.
I signed up to pitch my novel to two agents, both of which didn’t represent my genre. I intended to get the experience doing it. And I did. They were both helpful, providing advice, not only with in-person pitches but with query letters. Later, I learned, thanks to a Sharon, a friend from Round Hill Writers Group, that Bob Mecoy heard pitches, and he represents science fiction. I didn’t believe her at first–I read each bio, and no one represented science fiction this year. To my chagrin, she was right. I don’t know how I missed science fiction in profile, but I did. I had lost an opportunity.
Friday night, I attended the Read and Critique session for Science Fiction, just to watch–I didn’t submit anything. Bob Mecoy was one of the four people critiquing. The next day, I saw him after the agent panel and told him how much I learned from it. He noticed my badge (see the picture below) and asked me about my work.
And I gave him my pitch. He was very engaging, asking me questions. He caught me by surprise for a split-second when he asked if I had archaeology experience. (My protagonist is an archaeologist.) I said, “No, not unless you count watching Indiana Jones.” He smiled and asked me another question or so, and then requested twenty pages!
To say this was total unexpected is an understatement.
Now for a commercial break sponsored by reality: The odds that the first agent to request pages actually requesting the full manuscript or to wishing to represent me are astronomically high, against. I know this and understand it. This is the process in finding representation. The process ends when one agent likes what he/she reads, believes he/she can sell it, we share a vision for the work.
Now back to the conference…
I accomplished more than I ever expected. The pages request goes a long toward that, but just as important, I made several new friends that I’ll keep in touch with. I look forward hearing from them, seeing them grow as writers, and watching their careers progress.
In the end, I didn’t have a good conference, I had an outrageously, unbelievably, incredible conference.