When the Writer's Conference Isn't Right
Last Saturday, I attended the Washington Writer's Conference, Books Alive! Event. I was excited, a local event where I would meet local writers and also have the chance to pitch my novel, Walking Without A Compass.
But something was wrong with the flow and vibe of the event. The feng shui was off. The pitch room was set up in a classroom style. Writers were released at the sound of a bell into the pitch room and we had to scurry around like rats looking for cheese to find the agent we hoped to meet for our dizzying six minutes of discussion.
Your success at a pitch is as good as the agent listening along with the amount of coffee everyone has consumed, the weather, and how cute your shoes are that day. In other words, it's completely subjective.
Concurrent to the all-day pitching were what appeared to be great panel discussions on a variety of craft and writing topics. But they weren't great. An unprepared and underwhelmed volley of writers trundled onto the stage and read passages from their stories. Not much discussion flowed. That and the fact writers were scurrying in and out from their pitch sessions created an ongoing vibe of chaos and angst.
Maybe it was me? However, it wasn't. As I spoke to other attendees and even a few agents something was wrong.
Yet with all writing events, my goal (let's not talk about the whole agent thing) is to meet new people. And I did. I met some great people. It also seems my purpose on this earth, at least on that hot Saturday was to provide a compass for others.
I rewrote one person's pitch, directed a second to a developmental editor, and a third to a published author I know who would have some genre intel. Then when I got home waiting in my email was a rejection for one of my short stories.
Write on everyone - even when your best efforts fall flat.