Screw This, I’m Winging It

It’s funny, I missed out on all the BlogHer madness this year because I was at a writer’s conference but now I’m writing a post-conference post just like everyone else. I’m just so trendy right now I can barely even stand it.

In case you missed my post last week, I’ve spent the last four days at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference. This was my first conference and it was, for the most part, exactly what I expected it to be. I took an obscene amount of notes, learned a ton, felt encouraged as a writer, and met some new author friends. All good times.

What I wasn’t expecting was to feel so much ambition thrumming in the air. The other writers at this conference were hungry. I even had one guy say to me, “Are in this for the honor or the money? Because me, I’m in it for the money.”  Fancy that.

There were literary agents and editors at the conference, and these poor people had to run around the conference with AGENT or EDITOR written on their name badges, basically turning them into lights at night in the middle of a moth enclosure at the zoo. I can’t even imagine how many pitches these men and women had to listen to.

Speaking of pitches, I had no idea how important a writer’s pitch is but be ye not so misinformed: A pitch is a big deal. There were three separate sessions at this conference dealing with how to write and deliver a pitch to an agent, that’s how big of a deal it is. I wrote my pitch before the conference, then took the sessions and re-wrote it about ten more times.

Imagine this: I have ten minutes before my agent meeting and I’m wolfing down a stale sandwich I bought from Tully’s while furiously scribbling all over my notepad, trying to incorporate some feedback I got minutes ago. Five minutes before my meeting I have no idea what I’m going to say so I pop a piece of gum in my mouth and decide, “Screw this, I’m winging it.”

And I did. And it worked.

I met with an extremely decent human being who is a literary agent and she was very kind. It set me at ease and I just started talking about my novel (Enemy Accountant, if you’re curious) and it came out sounding relaxed and interesting. She gave me her business card and asked me to email the whole manuscript to her. I thanked her and then commenced clutching that business card for an hour straight because I was afraid it would plumb fly away if I didn’t.

Just in case you’re not of the publishing world, an agent’s job is to get publishers interested in buying your book. If they do manage to get a publisher interested, they help negotiate the contract in your interest and advocate for you throughout the publishing process. It’s a very, very good thing to find an agent who loves your work.

So, now I have two agents interested in my novel. And a head full of new writing tricks to try. And, oh hey there manuscript I wrote a few months ago. Let’s get you spiffed up and ready for your date with these agents who are interested in meeting you…

If you need me, I’ll be eyeball-deep in revisions.

4 thoughts on “Screw This, I’m Winging It

  1. -Blanche, Right?! In all likelihood I’ll email my manuscript and then get a nice rejection a few weeks later, but it’s a step in the right direction, no?

  2. Erika,
    Congratulations on the request for a full. I, too, was at the PNWA conference, but don’t think we met. I sold my manuscript to an editor last year and attended this year to give a presentation (Self-Promotion for the Introvert) and attend the workshops and meet other writers. It was fun and so much more relaxing to not be pitching. Best of luck as you continue your journey towards publication.

  3. -Kim, Hi there and thank you! We did actually get a chance to meet, I think it was on Saturday. You were really nice :) Best of luck to you as well with your book, please let me know when it’s released into the wild!

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