Sunday, February 6, 2011

And Another Thing I Learned About Writing From

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference

6)  Celebrate Any Request for "Pages"

But don't hang all your hopes on an offer from them.

So you get your manuscript ready, really ready. It’s revised and polished to a high gloss. You get a pitch session with Dream Agent. You practice your pitch for weeks. You sit down with said agent and pitch your little heart out. Then you sit back and wait.

And she says it sounds interesting. Asks a few questions. Then she hands you her card and asks you to send the first three chapters.

You float out of the pitch room, skip down the hall, rush to the bar to tell all your friends the good news. They help you celebrate and plan how you’ll spend your six-figure advance.

When you get home, you give your chapters another going over—or three. And you send them off to Dream Agent. You polish the rest of the manuscript again in anticipation of a request for a full and eventual offer of representation.

The email—or letter—arrives. Heart racing, you open it and read “Thank you for letting us read your work. However, Book Title isn’t a fit for us at this time.”  Despair.  What did you do wrong?

Probably nothing.  Some agents have a hard time saying "no" to a writer who--all eager-like--is sitting across a small table from them.  The pitch may have been good but, possibly, not completely representative of the actual manuscript.  Or the agent got back to the office and realized she had offered representation to another author with a similar story. 

So follow the steps above.  Polish the chapters to a gleam and send them off.  Then polish the rest of the manuscript to the same high gloss.  Then query other agents who represent what you write.  And start on that next book.  It'll keep you occupied while you wait for Dream Agent's reply, and you won't be hanging all your hopes on one response.

Registration is open for this year's conference.  We all know the state of the economy.  But if you can possibly afford it, go.  Attend the workshops, talk to other writers.  Try to sit at a table hosted by an agent, editor or author you admire.  And if your manuscript is ready, sign up for a pitch session.  Oh, and take the pitch practice workshop so you're ready. 

Most important of all--have fun.

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