by Cathy Anderson Corn
Attending writers' conferences has enriched my life, and I love listening to the people who make publishing happen. The whole process fascinates me, from paper and pens to computers and literary agencies. In that spirit, let us examine pitching experiences to agents and editors in my past conferences.
My first conference, the Pennwriters. I've completed a science fiction novel and have an appointment with a sci fi editor. I am clueless, completely terrified, and cannot speak in complete sentences. I clutch an index card with notes on it. She asks questions and shoots down my novel. I go away less terrified and mostly humbled.
Several conferences later, I attend the Columbus Writers' Conference. I'm to see an editor for my appointment for a paranormal mystery. As I walk into the room, I hear a woman talking with a big guy at a table in the back. She says, "Don't worry, it'll be fine. You'll do a great job." "It's his first conference," she says to me.
The editor is more terrified than I am, but he makes an amazing recovery and is helpful about my book proposal. His only fault is that he doesn't offer to publish my book for $100,000. This conference still humbled me, but I had some fun, too.
Let's skip to the Pennwriters Conference of two years ago. My burning need to make money as a novelist urges me to become vulnerable to the forces of publishing. My appointment with a big agent nearly reduces me to tears. Not only does he not recognize Great Talent, but I can't even understand his critique (others experience this, too, to their great delight).
The read and critique group at this conference should have been renamed "read and trash group," as that's what they do with my two pages of manuscript. Two of the three authors are so viscious I want to dim the lights to see if their red eyes glow in the dark.
There may have been more, but amnesia has gratefully taken over to salvage my mangled ego. At this conference I wasn't so much humbled as crucified.
Last year I attended no conferences.
The Pennwriters Conference this year is May 18-20, and yes, I'll be there. I'll enjoy the company of writers, learn lots, even speak with an agent or editor. But my cavalier attitude will see me through the rough spots, for in my inner knowing, that which I seek will be found elsewhere.
In the spirit of The Law of Attraction and other books on making your life what you want it to be, I realize I can call upon the bounty of the universe to get me where I'm going. No more struggles and humiliations, no more anti-perspirant failure. After all, my thoughts determine my world and what is in it.
Check back later for an updated blog: Gonna Manifest Me an Agent. This should be the most fun of all and will prove that history need not repeat itself.