January 21-23, 2011
New York City
Sheraton Hotel & Towers
Once again, I’m delighted to be involved in the huge Writer’s Digest Conference Pitch Slam scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, January 22, 2011. The high-energy two-hour session is an intense experience for everyone involved. It’s one of only three or four opportunities I have each year to meet groups of aspiring authors in person and get a sense of what they want to know about me and about the process of working with a literary agent, so that I can also provide the information publicly, through my blog or website.
More than fifty participating literary agents and the types of manuscripts we’re currently seeking are listed on the conference website.
I always try to attend some of the 50-minute sessions held at other times during the conference weekend, so I can learn something new. This year, Richard Curtis will open the conference with his predictions of how print on demand will continue to revolutionize trade book distribution. Jane Friedman’s session, “Your Publishing Options,” will provide an objective look at self-publishing, small presses, and large publishers. There are many more offerings that should appeal to writers at any stage in their careers.
If you’re a writer and you’re reading this, then you’re likely to be someone who prepares carefully in the weeks and months prior to attending a writers’ conference. I’m that type of person too. But it’s possible to be too rigid about your expectations and your approach. If you can manage to relax and be open to possibilities and willing to learn new things, your conference experience will be more beneficial.
Networking opportunities and valuable connections are more likely to arise when you listen as much as you talk, and when you ask as often as you answer. Initiate a conversation with the person standing in line or seated next to you at a conference event. It’s a good time to turn your gaze outward. You’ll be rewarded with clearer perceptions of the zeitgeist and your comrades, and you’ll have a lot more fun.
I’ll see you at the conference!