- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for someone else)
- Share the title and book so other readers can add it to their TBR lists if they like it
There's a lot of misinformation out there.
I'm not sure if it's because of the mass of information on the internet or because so many people in publishing, be they authors, editors, or agents, have different opinions on aspects of the industry, but a lot of writers out there seem to be confused. One thing I've decided I really like about conferences is that it's a place where writers and agents/editors can meet face to face and actually have a conversation and hopefully dispel some of the misinformation.
There's a fine line between being confident/assertive and scary/aggressive.
Meeting agents and editors is a great opportunity for writers, and they should definitely try to take advantage of the situation. A friendly and approachable writer who makes a great connection with agents and editors and gets good feedback on their writing is obviously going to fare better in the search for representation and publication than a writer who doesn't talk to anyone. Learning to promote yourself is important.
But agents and editors don't like being pitched to all the time. There needs to be boundaries. I heard stories about writers following agents into the bathroom to pitch to them and even following them into their hotel rooms while they were trying to pack up to leave. The best thing for writers to do is try to strike up a friendly conversation at lunch or dinner or in passing and wait for the agent or editor to ask "So what's your book about?" Everyone knows why writers attend writing conferences.
This past weekend I met many writers, but two stand out to me because when I met them we talked about more than just their writing. I got to know them and I felt like they were interested in knowing me, not just getting an agent. (Hey, even if it's not true, it still felt like we could be friends not just writer-agent.) I also remember a few writers for the wrong reason, like thrusting a 300+ manuscript at me and saying something like "read this, it's YA" without asking if I wanted to see it or telling me what it was about or asking if I preferred paper to electronic.
Business Cards are a Necessity for Agents but not Writers.
When I went to the writing conference, I had about twenty business cards on me. They were all gone before the last day, and I had to tear off scraps of paper and writer in writers' notebooks. But I came away with 22 business cards and one postcard - all given to me from writers. While some of them are designed very well and fun to look at, I'm not sure I'll really do anything with them. I'd much rather have the writer email me with a query that includes contact information and their blog address than look it up from a business card.
It might sound lazy, but it's just easier to stay organized electronically versus carrying around handfuls of business cards. Besides, I don't really want to spend the time looking up a writer only to discover they write a genre that doesn't interest me. I prefer to read the book first then check out writer blogs.
What is a necessity for writers - a notebook and a pen. Several writers who came to critiques had to borrow my pen - which was fine. I don't mind sharing, but a pen is much more important than a business card. And when I ran out of cards, it was much better to write my contact information in someone's notebook rather than hand them a scrap of paper or even a napkin.
I also learned things like Janet Reid got the best hotel room ever and Everyone loves having a minion and Conferences while fun are a lot of work and tend to drain your brain (um, I usually sleep in on the weekends, like late). But I had a great time, and I'm definitely going to be heading to more conferences in the future. I've already said yes to two of them for the spring!