Monday, May 7, 2012

Writing Conference Results

Last Thursday evening and all day Friday, I attended the Story Weavers, the annual conference of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. This was my first time to attend this conference. While I have (somewhat) sworn off the conference circuit, I decided to attend part of this one as we would be in Oklahoma City anyway for grandson Ephraim's fourth birthday party. A beta reader of In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People was going to be there, and she was hoping we could meet. Some other people I knew would also be there. So I paid $85 for the partial registration and drove the 7 miles from the kids' house to the conference hotel.

For this conference you turn in your requests for appointments in advance. Looking over the list of editors and agents, I came up with a certain agent as my number one choice, and a certain editor as number two. Agents are the most sought after appointments, and I didn't get an appointment with him. However, I saw him before the agent and editor panel and we spoke briefly. I later left him a copy of my sell sheet for the novel. Today I had an e-mail from him: rejected. He said, "While I don't think this would interest me—my own tastes are quirky—I do think there is good commercial potential for your novel.

However, I did get the appointment with the editor. I suppose I should have done a little more homework. The conference description of his editorial needs included fiction, without restriction to genre. However, in my meeting with him he said the word count of FTSP (90,000) was too long for him. Still, he asked me to send three chapters with a summary and outline, and he would see if he could do something with it or recommend it to someone.

Assuming this doesn't work, I have now accumulated 11 rejections of FTSP. Looks like it's time to self-publish.

In other conference news, a man who puts together anthologies of western short stories is interested in me writing some based on my wife's great-grandfather, the 49er. This is not something I even thought of before the conference, and I don't see how I could fit it in to my writing schedule this year.

The workshops were good, though I don't know that any I attended were chock full of information I hadn't heard before. All in all, a good conference.


Susan said...

Wow - have to respect an agent who took an honest look and actually replied back so quickly. I hope the editor will reply quickly as well, so you don't have to "tie up" the book unnecessarily. Sounds like a good conference experience overall - good connections made.

David A. Todd said...

Yeah, Susan, I think this is the first time I haven't had to prod an agent to get back with me.

On the editor, he really liked the premise of the novel, but was tepid concerning placement of it. I'm looking at the first three chapters and will submit them to him, but I'm not really expecting anything. I'll give it about a month, then will probably self-publish it.