I had the most amazing time at the conference. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I have so much to say about it that I’m not really even sure where to begin! I know that for each author that I met with and talked to, I can probably type a whole post for and I’m probably going to end up doing that.
So here’s a brief (or maybe not so brief) rundown of how my weekend went.
Thursday night Jacquee arrived and we sat around my apartment while I drilled her on what to say during her agent interview. (There were 10 minute agent and/or editor appointments available where you were able to pitch your novel if you so desired. I opted not to have one because I’m not far enough in my book.) She was insanely nervous about the interview, I was just nervous in general because meeting new people scares the hell out of me and a large room of people terrifies me even more. We stayed up entirely much later than we should have, but finally went to bed.
Friday morning I woke up with the alarm, keyed up and anxious, but excited. Jacquee and I got ready while blathering on and on to each other about how nervous we were. We finally walked out the door on time and made our way to the hotel. We walked in, found the registration desk, and got ourselves checked in, put our name tags on, and headed towards orientation. During orientation we weren’t told anything we couldn’t have figured out within a matter of minutes on our own, but just having gone to it made us feel a little bit more prepared.
At around 8:30 it was time for the morning meeting and keynote speech. Kelly James-Enger was the speaker. I was so nervous that I can’t really tell you what she said, but I do recall the moment that I recognized Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer walk past. I looked over at Jacquee and gave a silent squeal. I was in the presence of greatness. Yikes.
The speech ended, everyone clapped, and off we went to our first workshop. (If I keep writing the entire weekend in this much detail, this post is going to be insanely long.) Our first workshop was with Deidre Knight of The Knight Agency. She gave us loads of information about getting an agent, working with your agent, and what you should expect from your agent/author relationship. She was witty, funny, smart, friendly, and when I finally finish my manuscript, she is probably going to be who I wind up querying.
Lunch was great and then more workshops. This next workshop was where I first met Jenny Crusie. Because Jenny gets her own post later, I’m not going to go into detail here, but she gave a great workshop on brainstorming for your novel using collages.
The last workshop of the day that we chose to attend was a panel of bestselling authors talking about making it to the bestselling list. We’re talking big-time names here. Jean Auel, who wrote Clan Of The Cave Bear, The Mammoth Hunters, and more, has sold over 34 million copies of books worldwide. Her books are known by just about everybody. I couldn’t believe I was in the same room as her. In fact, for a few minutes she even sat in on the same agent/author workshop with us! Along with Jean, Terry Brooks, Anne Perry, and big-time New York agent Donald Maass put on the presentation. While interesting, after Terry Books had finished with his Q&A session, I realized I wasn’t getting much from the workshop and moved over to one taught by Matt Hughes. He was speaking about writing scenes in genre fiction.
While I was in those workshops, Jacquee was in her one-on-one with agent Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency. It went quite well, fortunately, and Jacquee was asked to send in the first three chapters of her manuscript! Yahoo!
Finally the day began winding down and we made our way to the ballroom for dinner. Terry Brooks was the keynote speaker. That man is hilarious. He had everybody laughing while at the same time making great points about being a writer.
After dinner and the speeches, Jacquee and I decided NOT to go to the Night Owl ghost story, but instead to go home and to bed. It was too bad, too, because apparently Jack Whyte, a very funny man with an amazing speaking voice (complete with Scottish accent), wore a kilt for the presentation of the story!
If this post weren’t so darn long already, I’d continue my way through the weekend, but at this rate it looks as though Saturday and Sunday are each going to get their own posts along with each of the authors!
In short, the first day of the conference went very well. My nerves were put to rest and I learned a great deal- especially when it came to information that I need to know about getting an agent. More to come tomorrow.