One week from today, I will be in sunny Las Vegas at my very first writing conference! (Which would be the Las Vegas Writing Conference, of course.) I can hardly believe it. I have been toying with the idea of attending a conference for a while. I take my writing very seriously, in both the craft and business aspects, and I am always looking for ways to boost me to the next level. Networking, connecting with other writers, and meeting industry professionals sounds fantastic. (People who understand what I am talking about without a twenty-minute explanation of the querying process…!) Not to mention informational panels and inspirational stories. And, of course, the chance to pitch to a real live agent! I have to admit this last piece was the thing that finally lured me into registering. I have not had much luck with the cold querying process. As I embark on a new querying journey with novel 8 (I just sent my first five queries this week!), I want to give it the best chance possible in this rough publishing environment. And maybe having that face time could make the difference—it can’t hurt, right?
So after pondering all of this, earlier this month I decided to find a conference. It didn’t take long to discover that the LVWC was only a few weeks away, right when I was planning to start querying, and within striking distance of my home base in San Diego. (It won’t be the first time I’ve made that drive!) I thought about it for a day and then made the plunge and registered. It’s a lot of money to spend, but is it a lot of money to spend on something so important to me? And the answer to that was, obviously, no. Everything I have heard from other writers is that conferences are totally worth it. And it fit into my budget without requiring me to eat ramen for a month or anything, so it wasn’t too much of a reach.
Now, all the sudden, what seemed like plenty of time has rapidly dwindled to ONE WEEK AWAY! Eek! I’ve been researching conference attire, etiquette, best practice, etc., and trying not to freak myself out too much. I stayed up way too late last weekend designing business cards. Imagine that—me, with author business cards! I don’t even have business cards for my day job. I feel like such a Real Writer™ right now. I’m also trying to navigate the ins and outs of pitch sheets, what to bring, and how to plan out my schedule for maximum benefit from the experience.
I am so excited to be taking this step in my writerly career. I’m nervous as hell about pitching to an agent (especially one who has already form rejected me on previous projects), and talking to strangers is way outside my comfort zone, but who cares? I’m going to be at a professional event for writers, learning about what I love, figuring out how to be better, and being inspired to continue on what can be an arduous journey. Plus maybe a chance to sneak out to the Strip…
I’ll be sure to report back on my very first writing conference experience!