Got back late last night from the Whidbey Writers Conference. Having left on Thursday around noon and arrived at my final destination about 2am EST, I started out not knowing what time it felt like to me. This continued throughout the weekend with about 5 hours of sleep per night, ending with a slightly late plane connection that got me home after midnight last night. I hope by the end of the week to figure out how to check my watch without attempting to do math. Meanwhile it seems mighty odd not to have author-agent appointments this afternoon.
I may or may not do a full conference report later, but the question I was most often asked this weekend wasn’t the one that usually comes out on top. It was: is it easier to get an agent at a conference or via a query? Now, I can’t answer for everyone, but looking at my own client list I see precious few that were conference meets originally, though there are some (maybe 3? and at least 2 of those were years and manuscripts after the initial meeting). I don’t think I’m quite up to the level of math to come up with statistics (which is the answer many people actually got this weekend). I tend to think I’m more likely to ask to read something from those I meet at a conference than from queries. In this particular case, I met with 32 authors (officially, and there were more exchanges that happened in the hall, over lunch, etc.) and asked for 9 submissions, which is greater than my average by query (approximately 2-3 per week usually, out of 100-150 queries). But my gut feeling is that the percentage chance of netting representation isn’t actually any higher. I have no math to back that up, and I doubt I could develop any, even if I were awake.
Oh, and if anyone was wondering, the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” post several days back was the pre-cursor to an excercise that I was intending to use in a workshop I presented. I’ll try to elaborate on that at some point.
In any case, now I’m home again and can return to the “routine” of the agent-life. Heh.
When you’ve returned to the land of the living, here’s the question triggered by your comment:
I tend to think I’m more likely to ask to read something from those I meet at a conference than from queries.
Do you think that’s because it’s harder to say, ‘go away! leave me alone! I’m just trying to get myself a snack!’ when it’s a person standing right in front of you? Or perhaps because their excitement about their work can be contagious even if later you might say, “what was I thinking!?”
IOW, do you feel like there’s an additional pressure put on you when it’s in-person that you don’t feel when you’re just studying queries while alone at your desk?
(Boy, do I sound like an introvert, or what.)
It’s a good question and one I’m not sure I have an answer for. I think it might have been more true that face-to-face pitches exerted some pressure earlier on, but I have to admit that lately it seems that all of it is internal and coming from that compelling need to find the next new story and next new author that will spice up the client list.
What I think happens is that the quotient of people who are serious about their writing is higher at conferences than it is in the mailbox… Therefore, the percentage of projects that are potentially interesting is correspondingly higher, too.
If you persist in telling the awful truth about the agent appointment math, we shall have to seriously re-think the whole JenCon idea…we were planning to use you as bait. Can you be persuaded to sweep the whole sordid subject under the ‘I’d love to see that, why don’t you send me a partial?’ rug?
That depends on who has to read all those partials. *g* Seriously… I’m looking. I think I’ll always be looking. I don’t think writers should get discouraged by the competitive nature of it all. It just means you have to be the best. (Yeah, that’s all.)