Friday, November 4, 2011

My First Conference

Well, it only seems fitting that I let you know about upcoming conferences that I should finally attend one. And I did just that last week.

I haven't decided if I'm going to name the conference I went to, because I haven't fully decided if I had a good time or not. Maybe by the end of this post I'll have figured it out...or not.


Last week I picked up my daughter form school, then picked up my hubby from work, then drove to my mom's dropped off my kids and hubby and I drove about 3 hrs south to the conference. I suppose I should mention the big reason I decided to go at all was because it was within driving distance. I hate to fly. Still waiting for the science nerds to get on that whole teleportation thing...that'd make my life easier.

Got the some writing buds there and started to get excited for the next day. It should also be said there was a lot of pre-conference homework given to us that I did not complete. I finished some of the assignment, but just didn't have time to finish the rest...but I digress...

I woke up early, headed to breakfast, where I paid $8.50 for a bowl of oatmeal...bloody hotel restaurant vultures! Headed down to the conference room waiting for my experience to begin.

The first hour and a half went pretty well, but then just went down hill from there. I'll just say that after 8 hrs of the same thing, I had to leave and nurse a migraine.

Second day was a bit better, but what made it for me was listening to Terry Fallis (a canuck writer and first ever self-pubbed author to win The Stephen Leacock Award for Humour) talk about his journey to publication. He was funny, honest and I just plain liked the guy. Barbara Kyle was next. She was awesome. She talked about how important the opening to your book is. I learned a lot from her and will now be looking at the opening to my stories in a whole new way.

Day three we pitched to 2 agents and 3 editors. At first I was so nervous I left the room and called my hubby to save me from my meltdown. He did. Thank you Hubby. Once it was all over I was pumped up. They were so nice and put you right at ease. I know not everyone in the business is sweet and approachable, but these peeps were and have given me and nice intro into this weird world of writing. It was awesome. I didn't get any requests, but the networking made up for it.

By day four I was more than ready to go home. I've never been away from my wee little family for so long and all the eating out was making me feel like a bag of crap. I was homesick.

When my dad pulled up I was so happy to see him I nearly knocked him over. Now the highlight by far was meeting the awesome writing lassies I had been emailing for over a year now. They were awesome, smart and inspiring. It was worth the money I spent just to hang out with these girls.

We also had a theme song (just the 3 ladies and I...not a conference theme song)...

So, overall the conference wasn't a total write-off. I did learn a few things about the craft, and that's ALWAYS a good thing. I meet some fantastic people. And I was able to pitch to one agent and two editors. But the big issue for me...I felt like the conference was promoted as a craft centric conference..instead it focused very heavily of perfecting the pitch..which is fine, but all of the assignments and reading they had asked us to do prior was never mentioned...I stressed myself out for nothing.

It's pretty safe to say that I will not be attending that particular conference again, but I will (not anytime soon, cuz it was super expensive) attend one again...

Have you ever been to a conference? What was your experience?

Feeling renewed and more focused,



Allison Merritt said...

I've only been to two conferences, both hosted by my writing group. I pitched to an agent for the first time this year and it was a complete disaster. She interrupted me about two sentences into my pitch because I was stuttering so badly. She requested, but I think it was just to be nice because three months later I got a reject.

But I love our writer's conferences because they're just one day, it's close to home, and we get good swag. Plus, considering where we're at (i.e. the middle of nowhere), we usually get pretty good speakers. I wish I could go to other conferences, but you're right, they're expensive.

Brenda said...

I doubt I'll ever attend one. I do not fly so that is the biggest obstacle in my way, money is a close second.

Duckie said...

i'd go to another one...but not for a very long was just so expensive..and i'm not a very goof flyer either...