2015 CONFERENCE AFTERMATH
It’s with a bit of sadness and a bit of joy that I say goodbye to the 2015 Las Vegas Writer’s Conference. Even though I quote myself from a Facebook post I made last night (as I write this), it’s appropriate for how I feel about my tenth conference.
This time, I attended with no specific agenda. I had no intention of pitching any of my novels because none of the agents represented the genre that I need representation. I’ll get into that more in a moment. As for classes, or more accurately, sessions, I took more advantage of them than in the past.
My main intent was to be there and have a great time, and that’s what I did, despite for the third year in a row, having a family crisis looming. Yup, the past three years in April have been rough. I don’t know why, but April hasn’t been great for the Rayworth family the past few years, and it happens to coincide with my writing Woodstock. Oh well, you have to take the good with the bad.
For the first time, I have tangible book publication looming. Meleena’s Adventures – Treasure of the Umbrunna, or specifically Treasure Of The Umbrunna is coming out in late July, early August. For this conference, though I helped set up, register attendees and run the front desk, I also had some me-time, especially on Friday, day two. There were several sessions on book marketing and soliciting reviews for your book and such. I’ve historically avoided most of those sessions at past conferences except to take one occasionally, just to make the rounds because I had nothing to market. Sure, I did attend a variety of them to educate myself on as many aspects of the craft as I could, but never in concentration because I knew I’d forget. Besides, by the time I got to the point of publication, as it actually turned out, a lot of that info ended up being obsolete.
A lot of that old marketing info did become obsolete, especially with the changes to social media and the way the face of the publishing industry has changed over the years. Not everything has changed, but enough that I’m glad I waited to get the most up-to-date stuff!
The result is that I dedicated my time to marketing-my-book sessions on Friday, sessions which were all repeated Saturday.
AGENT AND PUBLISHER PITCHING
I’ve talked about this before. I advised several new conference attendees that despite what the bios in the (quite excellent, by the way) program we received say about each agent and publisher, sometimes they’re not accurate. In fact, occasionally, what the bio says they take for submissions is such fantasy, you have to wonder why they (and I mean the agent or their agency) submitted it to us to print. I once pitched my icky bug to an agent that supposedly took icky bug, according to their bio. Nope. They took Christian fiction. Say what?
Like I told the newbies, go ahead and pitch to them anyway, just for practice. You’ll never see them again anyway, and you never know. Maybe they know someone from their agency that does take your genre. Then again, maybe the agent or publisher will like your charm and make an exception.
I had a running joke with Audrey, the agent coordinator that took all the pitches. I asked her for all the open pitch sessions, at once. When she inevitably told me “no way,” I told her I wanted them also! I asked her several times throughout the conference, just to keep her on her toes.
CHATTING PEOPLE UP
Besides working the front desk and meeting virtually everyone, I’d walk around or go sit at my usual table, which this time was #11 in the ballroom. Usually, people would join me and we’d start the conversation. “Hello, I’m so and so.” “What do you write.” “Where are you from.” The conversation would go on from there. It was great to talk shop.
What was so nice about this conference was the size. Not too big and not too small. I heard if from not only the attendees, but the faculty. Notice I said attendees and faculty? That’s because we intermingled. We all sat together and talked shop. There was no segregation. The small, integrated group wasn’t rushed, wasn’t so small that nothing happened, yet it was intimate enough that everyone was able to get something of value.
Sure we had some sour apples in the bunch, as we always do, but I’ll tell you what. There are those that are repeat attendees and those first timers that will be back next year. There are a few that attended the big events on the coasts that say “never again.”
I know I’m ready to fill out my early bird form and start paying for next year. I should have a book to plug by then. I only hope I don’t have another family crisis like the past few Aprils.