Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wordcraft – Where the heck do you go to meet an agent?

Third of an occasional series about publication and promotion

It’s a story dear to the hearts of all published writers: how they found their literary agent. It’s always as unique as a love story, they insist. It was a once in a lifetime event, they say. It’ll never happen this way to anybody else, they say. Please. No matter what the romantic trappings of love stories, they all amount to this: two somebodies put themselves out there. No one ever fell in love – or was fallen in love with – while huddled in a dark closet. Same thing with meeting agents. They get out there. We gotta get out there.

I met my agent because a friend invited me to come for dinner one evening in a small city on the other side of the metroplex. I was so tired that night I almost didn’t go. Who cares, I thought? Nothing’s going to happen anyway. But it did. Of course, it helps to put ourselves out there in places where agents are apt to lurk – such as at the restaurant where my friend was waiting. But for those without attentive, agented friends, I suggest conferences. Especially conferences with agents.

Stuff happens when people meet
These are usually more plentiful in the spring and summer, which is why I post lists of several Texas conferences early each year. At this season, I searched further afield to find a few still available between now and year end, and will mention some coming up next year, because we need time to prepare.

September 2-4, 2016: I was amazed to learn there is still space available at the Historical Novel Society conference in Oxford, UK. Check the site for information, or see next year’s schedule when the HNS will meet in the United States.

September 9, 2016:  Still room too at the Sacramento Writing Workshop, in Sacramento, California, September 9. Besides teaching classes at the one-day event, agents will also be available to hear writers’ pitches. Check the site for further information and pricing.

November 19, 2016: Same story at the Las Vegas Writing Workshop – still space available and agents to teach and pitch to. 

And coming up next year:

February 16-19, 2017: The San Francisco Writers Conference runs through the long Presidents’ Day weekend with lot of classes, lots of chances to socialize, and “speed dating” for agents. Registration is currently open.

Spring 2017, TBD: The Houston Writers Guild  hosts a Houston-area conference with speakers, classes and – agents! Usually in April each year, but check back with the site later for information.

May 6-8, 2017: DFW Writers Conference returns to downtown Dallas. Registration is currently open, and by taking a survey, we may win prizes – including possible free registration!

June 22-24, 2017: Historical Novel Society conference in Portland, Oregon. The Historical Novel Society meets in England and North America in alternate years – in 2017, it’s the colonists’ turn!

June 30-July 2, 2017: Writers League of Texas Agents & Editors Conference in Austin, Texas. This is the biggest writers conference in the state! Keep an eye on the site for registration opening later this year.

July 11-15, 2017: ThrillerFest in New York City. I’m thrilled just thinking about it. Lee Child will be there! (Need I say more? Oh, yeah, craft workshops, a pitch fest, and agents!)

July 26-29, 2017: The Romance Writers of America holds its annual conference in Orlando, Florida. Yes, it’s nearly a year away, but this one always sells out early, so keep an eye on the site.

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