Some people have asked me for an account of what it’s like attending a conference as an agent, and of course I’m only happy to oblige.
As you consider the agent conference experience, keep in mind that for the vast majority of the time I spend at work I’m sitting in front of a computer (or Kindle, as the case may be), performing mundane tasks like comparing and negotiating contracts, preparing submissions, following up with publishers on things that need to be done, etc. There are some exciting moments from time to time, but I ride the bus, go to work, go home, do a lot of reading… and there you have it.
So attending a writer’s conference can come as quite a shock. It’s seriously a trip to be recognized and to have people attending my panels and waiting in pitch sessions and all the rest. I really, really appreciate that people want to talk to me, and I don’t take any of it for granted, but seriously — it’s a shock to go from mild mannered agent working in front of a computer to someone who strangers say hi to. I guess it’s sort of like being a celebrity for a weekend, only I don’t have to be on The Hills and when I leave the conference it’s straight back to normalcy.
Every agent and editor who has attended a conference has their own favorite tale of being accosted by an overzealous conference attendee, but honestly, I’m always really impressed by the people who are able to come up and introduce themselves to me and be cool and just act like it’s the most normal thing in the world. How do these people do it?? I applaud the courage. So please, feel free to come talk to me at conferences — I may be rushing off to do something and won’t be able to stop, but we both came to the conference, so hey, why not chat?
Attending RWA was pretty great — everything was very well-run and organized, and everyone seemed like they were having a fabulous time. And, what with it being RWA and all, the innuendo was flying!
And of course, no conference would be complete without some old fashioned networking. I was able to have meetings with some really great editors, including one I have been chatted with many times in the past but hadn’t yet met in person, and I was able to meet up with some authors as well. Unfortunately I also missed out on meeting some people I was hoping to bump into… hopefully next time.
So overall, I never quite know what I’m going to get with a conference, and especially with pitch sessions, I never know how successful they are until the queries and partials start showing up in my inbox. But I really enjoy conferences and it’s a great time to remind myself that even though I stare at a computer most days, there are plenty of cool people behind those queries. Thanks again to everyone who attended my panel and session and it really was great to meet blog readers!