Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Conference Assimilation: The Appointments

One reason writers go to conferences is appointments with editors, agents, successful authors, and other faculty. WTP is no exception. The conference did not begin with an introduction of the faculty and staff. You had to have done some homework and figured out from their websites what each faculty member was there for, and which ones were editors or agents.

Based on this homework, I decided to try to schedule 15 minute appointments with two editors. Full-conference registrants were allowed two appointments. More could be scheduled at certain times on succeeding days provided the time slots were not filled. At 8:00 AM on Wednesday morning was a conference ritual I call “crashing the boards”, as we gathered where schedules were posted on the wall, and reached and stretched to write our names on the preferred agent, editor, or writer schedule. I got appointments with my two targets, for Friday afternoon.

Why did I chose to meet with agents when I’ve decided to self-publish? I guess I still hold out some hope that I can get a contract with a legacy publisher, and so am willing to give it another couple of tries. But, as for other appointments, if I could get them, who to try for?

The panels helped. On Wednesday a panel of magazine editors discussed what they wanted to publish, why they were there. I had not planned on pitching to magazine editors, but three on the panel had things I could pitch to them. When the time came on Thursday when we could sign up for extra appointments, I signed up for two. Then the book editor panel on Friday showed me I should try to get one more appointment, with a certain editor. Again I pounced on the boards, and got the fifth appointment.

As I mentioned in a previous post, on Friday I hung out in the appointments auditorium rather than attend electives. By doing this I was able to have an unscheduled appointment with an agent who had a hole in his schedule—not to pitch to him, but to get his advice on what to do with Father Daughter Day. That made six appointments in all.

Here’s who I met with.
- Rowena Kuo, publisher of a relatively new publisher of magazines and books. I pitched a short story and a series of magazine articles to her.
- Craig Bubeck, of Wesleyan Publishing House. I pitched my Wesley writings project to him.
- Sarah McClellan, literary agent. I pitched Doctor Luke’s Assistant and Father Daughter Day to her.
- Mary Keeley, literary agent. I pitched Doctor Luke’s Assistant and Fifty Thousand Screaming People to her.
- Ramona Tucker, of OakTara Publishers. I pitched Doctor Luke’s Assistant and Fifty Thousand Screaming People, to her, along with Documenting America.
- Terry Burns, literary agent. I spoke with him for only five or ten minutes, and only about Father Daughter Day.

So, that is my stewardship record of appointments at the WTP Conference. I believe I did well, in timing when I crashed the board and in those I was able to meet. I’ll have more specifics in a future post.

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