Monday, September 11, 2006

A Conference Suggestion

STATUS: Busy Monday. I have a couple of projects to get out by Friday and since we’ve requested quite a few full manuscripts (like 5 or 6) in the last week or so, I’ve got a lot of reading to do. Not to mention, my client delivered her manuscript as promised (and that delights me because I’ve been waiting for this one).

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SOMEONE SAVED MY LIFE TONIGHT by Elton John

First off, my read & critique session on Friday afternoon went pretty well. Or at least in my mind it did. The writers looked a little dazed upon leaving but I do think they felt that the session and the feedback were valuable or helpful.

On Saturday, I took pitch appointments and noticed an interesting trend I’d rather not see repeated so I thought I would share it here—just in case conference organizers and future conference attendees are reading this blog.

About a third of the pitches I received were for projects my agency does not represent.

And many of those projects were quite good but since I don’t represent that kind of material, it really was a waste of time for both the writer and for me.

Flummoxed, I even asked one participant who had what sounded like a cool literary thriller why he had an appointment with me.

He said, “Because all my other agent choices were already booked and you were the only agent that had a slot open.”

Okay, valid, but I have to say I was a little aggravated. If my agency is the only slot open and we don’t rep your type of work, please, don’t meet with me. Decline your spot and allow another writer to take it who has a project that fits my criteria. I actually want to meet that person.

I attend conferences because I’m looking for new projects—in the genres I rep. Agent pitch sessions aren’t for practicing.

So here are two suggestions

Attendees: don’t list an agent on your request sheet if the agency doesn’t fit what you are writing--even if you have to fill in a third request slot or something like that.

Conference organizers: Please, do a final vet before the agent pitch list is finalized. Have the writers list their project and genre and if doesn’t fit with what the agent has clearly listed as what he/she represents, delete the writer from the pitch list. Let another person have that slot.

After all, the whole point of pitch sessions is to match up a writer with an agent. If that doesn’t happen, it’s just a waste of time.