The conference is over and I must say that I'm thrilled that I was able to attend. I met so many lovely ladies this weekend, both published and unpublished, and learned so much that my head seems "full".
Candice Hern presented a wonderful talk on Point of View with great examples for using deep third person.
Karin Tabke gave a talk on rejection...it's just business, don't take it personally, which put the whole submission process (to both agents and editors) into perspective. If you query an agent and they don't get back to you..."they're just not that into you". Get over it and go on. If you love the agent, keep submitting to them. If they're interested, they'll call!
Barbara Freethy told us how to take our book from good to great. She also gave out an ARC for her upcoming book (I didn't win, but I know I'll be buying it in June). The title is Suddenly One Summer. Cannot wait to read it!
Eric Maisel gave an invigorating presentation on Beating the Writing Blues.
Then came the book signing...yes, my staggering to be read pile is now substantially bigger. I picked up some favorites and a couple of new writers. But I missed a familiar name...Cat Grant. Her books were there, but if she was, I missed her. :-(
Then came the dreaded pitch session. Sadly, I pitched a category length story to Laurie McLean -- who doesn't do category romance. Howevever, she graciously gave me some wonderful advice for my career (keep writing, don't give up the day job, and feel free to send her a partial if I have something single-title length). She also mentioned that paranormal, although flying off the shelves, is a hard sell right now. Agent and publisher stables are full (why do they refer to us as horses? Catherine Coulter wonders) I was also able to touch base with Laura Bradford, who has a partial of Crisscross on her desk as I type. She does accept that length and I was glad to be able to put a face with a name on the manuscript. Scott Eagan of Greyhaus Literary was also here. Last year, I bought a critique from Scott at Brenda Novak's auction (which is currently running, hop on over there, as he and others have donated more critiques). I was able to thank him in person for his insight on the manuscript.
Catherine Coulter spoke of the state of the industry at dinner. It's tough times out there. HQN may be doing well, but it's simply because they have no slack to cut. Everyone else is seeing cutbacks and the best advice for writers -- write the best book you can, polish it up, and if it's rejected, keep writer. Preserverance is the key to success.
After dinner, a panel of published authors told us all things they wished they'd known before they signed the contract...my takeaway message, shoot for the top, don't settle, and write the best book you can. It's really the only thing you can control in the process. And again, preserverance is the key to weathering the recession. If you persist, you will succeed.
The really great thing is that I came back up to the room and opened my e-mail to find a request for a full manuscript of Crisscross from a small publisher that I had queried.
Oh, and Cindy Jacks, one of my CPs, is a finalist in the Knight Agency's Book in a Nutshell contest! Go Cindy!!