1/30/12

Girl In NY

My steamy hot cup of NY :)
How was NY? Exhilarating. Exhausting. Kinetic. Satisfying. Overwhelming. Invigorating. Short. Fast. Insightful. Fruitful. And the single best thing I could have ever done for my writing career.

The burning question, did I snag an agent? No. But that's not to say I didn't meet my future agent at this conference. I had some very fruitful chats with agents and editors, not to mention made personal connections.
So, if you didn't get an agent, why was it the "best thing" you did for your career?  With each conference, I gain more confidence, become reassured and brave the shark infested waters.  I no longer lurk around editors and agents, I inject myself in their conversation.  Why didn't I do that before?  Because I thought to be around them, I had to talk about my book and my writing and the industry and blah blah blah.  But the truth is, the second a writer does that, these agents and editors clam up and start looking for a way out.  The next thing you know, another hyena sees their lack of interest in said writer and pounces for the kill.  Another opportunity is gobbled up by the competition.  By lurking, I've witnessed a lot of feeding frenzies.  I made a different approach.

Me and Times Square
Each editor or agent I approached differently.  Some, I complimented their speech, session or panel they participated in, noting the specific thing that intrigued me.  Or maybe I loved their broach and asked them about it.  Sometimes it was as simple as talking about their next project they were excited about.  The whole point, I did not make it about me, stalking them, picking their brain and leeching onto them like a blood  sucking writer.  Coming off desperate, looks just like that.  Things that do not come off naturally or genuine will seem forced or fake.  Take the your writing out of it and just make it conversation.  I did exactly that, and had an agent joking with me instead of running for the hills.

What did I learn? The material presented as SCBWI is copyrighted, so I will only be able to speak in generalities. The editor panel was very interesting (which was presented on the Writing Intensive days that cost extra.) They talked about how they sold projects. How they only took on projects they loved because if you don't love it, you won't work or fight for it. And that's the type of editor you want. They talked about their editorial letters to the author. Some were a three pages, others were 18 to 20 pages. Every editor had their own process and it was interesting to hear their logic behind the methods to their madness. Which actually made them appear a little less shark-like.

Ara Burlund and Me
(BTW...hate this pic of me.  Gag!)
Who did I meet? For professional reasons, I'm not going to give you the skinny on the agents or editors I talked with.  But fellow writer wise, my CP and wingman, Ara Burklund. Stuck to her like glue and she helped me wade the shark infested waters. Ara is a great friend and awesome fellow writer.  I couldn't have asked for a better NY cohort.  I also got to finally met in person Karen Akins, her blog is Novels During Naptime. Let me just say, my fellow southern gal had me twanging by the end of the night.  We shared a kindred spirit.  I also met the fabulous Lee Wind.  He's the regional advisor for SCBWI's LA.  He is fun, encouraging, and a wealth of publishing knowledge.  I can't wait to see him at future events.

That's all for now.  Stay tuned this week for more SCBWI inspired posts:
Editors and Why You Need to Stalk Them Too
Duh, You Don't Have to Be Gay to Attend LGBT Talks
Who Said What At SCBWI NY and Why It Stuck 


BTW...if you have not checked out my Sunday Download from yesterday, get over there.  It's good love making music.

7 comments :

  1. What an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing what you learned.

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  2. Aw! I am so glad you had a great time at the conference, Dana! It was so much fun hanging out with you!!! Next year, hopefully you'll be able to stay an extra night or two.
    ; )

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  3. It sounds like you really had an amazing time! I can't wait for your other posts. :-)

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  4. That sounds like so much fun! It's beautiful how you describe having conversations with agents/editors NOT about writing; they don't like being used any more than the rest of us. Wonderful post. Looking forward to more!
    Catherine Denton

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  5. Sounds wonderful! I'm going to a regional SCBWI conference in June (in New Jersey) and I'm looking forward to chatting with editors and agents. I like your advice of talking to them about other topics besides how you'd like them to be your agent/editor. ;) When I spoke to agents at the Writer's Digest pitch slam, it was nice to see them as actual people.

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts!

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  6. Yay for a great conference experience. I'm constantly referring to notes from past conferences. The wealth of info. is too much to absorb at the time. Had a GREAT time at the SDSU Writer's Conference last weekend. Learning and putting yourself out there rocks.

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  7. Mohamed – It was an amazing experience. Can’t wait to follow up with these people!

    Ara – So glad you talked me into going. Can’t wait til next year.

    Jessica – MISSED YOU THERE! You would have LOVED it. New York was a sexy fun place to be!

    Catherine – Fun and exhausting. Just trying to wrap my mind around it all. And yes, savvy conversations are better than rabid attacks.

    Ghenet – Seeing them be normal, took a lot of the pressure off and made them look a lot less shark-like

    Leslie – Ooo, would love to hear about your writer experience at SDSU, I hear that is a good one too. Hope you post something. And yes, it is a wealth of knowledge and referring back helps it absorb a little better.

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Love hearing from my friends.♥