The time is finally upon me. Less than a week to go and I’ll be helping to set up for the Las Vegas Writer’s Conference at good old Sam’s Town Gambling Hall and Casino. I find it funny that though being locals and Sam’s Town being “our” casino where we go regularly, every time we enter through the back parking garage and go past the conference halls by the escalator, I get a huge rush of nostalgia, an urge to go into the Ponderosa room and mingle with other writer’s, even though there’s probably a wedding party or a coin show or an empty room. I never get over the rush of past or future writer’s conferences.
After bemoaning having no idea if any of the agents or publishers would be interested in any of the genres I write in my last article, I finally broke down and looked at the web site. Sure enough, there are those that take a few of my genres! Now that the faculty are written in stone, I know what to focus on. I’ve gone over one pitch letter and synopsis and cringed at stuff I hadn’t spotted the last time I used it in 2006. As for the other one I’m going to use, it should be pretty tight, but upon probably the fiftieth pass, who knows?
Last week at the writer’s group meeting, we had practice pitch sessions. Since I wasn’t a mock agent I would’ve been one of those to either watch or practice pitching. I’ve been doing this so long, for me practicing my pitch doesn’t cut it. I don’t practice. Unlike others, I’ve pitched for real probably fifty or sixty times. I don’t want to practice. I want to be spontaneous, off-the-cuff. I may stumble a bit, but I think it comes off more honest, at least for me. I have enough background that I think I can pull it off without looking like a fool. I usually get bites each time, at least where the agents or publishers have me send them something, even if they usually end up as rejections. I did get two contracts using my off-the-cuff unrehearsed method so something must be working!
Writing is one of the biggest pleasures for me. This conference is the big Kahuna, the Woodstock of the year, the superbowl, or to put it in terms my wife could relate to (besides football), The Brickyard or Daytona 500. This year, our keynote speaker is My Haley, Alex Haley’s widow. He’s the guy that wrote Roots. She’s a dynamic speaker and should be a real hoot.
With the usual mix if regulars and new faces, I’ll get to meet plenty of new writers from all over America. This is a great time to get to see how other people are doing and learning their craft. I’ll get to share my experience and pick up info I can use. I never walk away bored!
There will be agents, editors, screenwriters, publishers, and just about anyone who has to do with writing wandering the halls and the floor. I’ll be constantly bumping into them, shooting the breeze, maybe attending their sessions, eating meals with them, getting all kinds of gossip and tidbits from the publishing world. This inside info is great stuff!
Next week I’ll give a rundown on how the conference went. Successes and failures. Warts and all. I cannot emphasize how important it is for you, as a writer to attend at least one if not more of these conferences. Also, a blatant plug for our conference as it is small and focused for a reason. Everyone gets to talk to everybody. There are no huge lines and paying extra just to see an agent or publisher. No huge crowds to get in the way of the intimate setting.
That’s it for this week. Until next time, happy writing!