Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Speed dating with agents

A popular feature of writing conferences is this "speed dating" concept – with both agents and editors. The concept is simple: you sit at small table with an agent in a loud and overcrowded room and pitch your story. Easy, right? Um. Not so much. It's nerve-wracking and while the agents are always polite you've gotta believe that at the end of the 2 hours, they're exhausted and not as attentive as you'd hope. But, at least when you meet with an agent face-to-face, they can ask for clarifications (and you can see where you need to improve your pitch).

I was lucky enough to spend 10 minutes with a guy named Kevin Smokler at my first writing conference. He's not an agent, but he knows the industry (especially online promotion). There was less pressure on me to pitch, but he absolutely tore my pitch apart. This is where I really learned that a thick skin is a requirement. It was possibly the most brutal 10 minutes I've spent in a long time (at least in my writing life) – he was very kind, but he didn't get what I was trying to say, because I hadn't found the heart of my story to pitch. So, the point is – the first meeting likely going to suck, but you'll learn so much.

The speed dating concept is good for maximizing the agents' time, and I can appreciate that, but at least at SFWC last year, it was barely controlled chaos: 50 writers standing in line for the agents, chattering, bumping into each other, nervous. If it's stressful for the writers, it's got to be even more so for the agents, glancing over your shoulder while you're giving your pitch, looking at the 20 people in line behind you, and wondering if they'll ever get a bathroom break. I actually prefer how the folks at the East of Eden and Historical Novel Society conferences set it up – you get appointment times with 2 or 3 agents at times throughout the conference.

nubility: marriageableness

Myths, symbols, and folklore
yoni "As the female correspondent to the linga, it symbolizes the maternal womb and the capacity to give birth. The yoni is usually depicted as the base of the linga. The graphic sign for the yoni is a triangle standing on its apex."

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  1. Anonymous11:57 PM

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