Last year at the ACFW conference, I was SO nervous (duh.) It was my first one… and even though I’d skimmed through the website, I felt ultra unprepared. I was out of my mind busy at work, and it was just a stressful time for me.
When we got to the hotel (we drove, took us a day and a half) our hotel room wasn’t ready–another story itself– but I kept going back to the reception area to check and see if a room was available yet. On one such trip, I was standing in line, slightly frustrated. A lady was behind me, and we got to chatting while we waited.
Lady: Are you here for the ACFW conference?
Goober Krista: Yes, and you?
Lady: I am.
Goober Krista: Wonderful! Is it your first time?
Lady: Yes, and you?
Goober Krista: It is, but I’m really excited.
Lady: Me too. So, what do you write?
Goober Krista: Contemporary Romance. What do YOU write?
Lady: Oh, uh, I don’t. Actually, I’m an agent.
Goober Krista: Oh, my goodness. I’m sorry.
Agent Lady: It’s okay.
But it wasn’t okay. *I* was mortified. How could I not recognize an AGENT? In my defense, it was my first time seeing one. But… had I done the correct homework, I wouldn’t have been in such an embarrassing situation.
How do you do your homework, you might ask?
You go to www.acfw.com, click on annual conference, then agents/editors. Then you click your PRINT button (Um… make sure your printer has INK…)
At this point, you read. And study. You ingrain the faces/names into your head. Okay, I’m going a wee bit overboard. Even if you can’t connect faces/names, you can at least recognize faces. This is a great exercise to do on the plane ride… or if you have some of those glasses you can put on while you sleep that feeds your brain images… just download your pictures and learn subliminally.
Have fun with that last suggestion (and you might want to avoid telling anyone you did that… you might sound kinda creepy)
Discussion: For those of you attending… if you met an agent/editor that will be attending ACFW in a bookstore… TODAY…. would you recognize them?
For everyone… how goes the writing? I think it’d be fun to hear an update on everyone’s status… are you writing, taking a break, editing, starting a new project? Inquiring minds want to know!
I've had a major breakthrough in my story and have decided to edit while I process how I want the novel to end. I'm very excited.
On the other hand, maybe if we don't know who the agents and editors are, we'll end up being more comfortable around them and just enjoy getting to know them for who they are? Not sure! Or do you think the agents and editors expect writers to know them and get offended when we don't?
I wrote 1000 words yesterday. YAY!!!
And I'd probably do the same thing eve if I studies. Sometimes pic don't even look a thing like the person. It would be too hard to remember them all!
Jody, problem is… if you meet said agent (in your case editor) in the elevator and have this wonderful chat with them, then get OFF the elevator and someone goes, "OH MY GOSH, you were just talking with the editor from _________"
Chance to talk up your book : Lost.
That said… not saying that I would recognize everyone even after reviewing their pictures, but that coupled with going over "what" they are looking for (especially anyoen you're interested in talking too) and coupling that with being familiar with their face… is a REALLY good idea. I'd done that with the few I planned to pitch to, and it helped. I'd just neglected everyone else:-)
I definitely wouldn't recognize many. I find the pics given aren't always the most accurate anyway. Guess I better do some homework though, or not ask anyone what they write.
I'm a visual learner so I'll admit that I've been studying pictures and names of editors/agents and authors off Facebook. Yet, I know people don't always look like the glamorous photo they posted.
That said, I think the main thing is to be friendly and sincerely interested in the other person. Yes, I want to pitch my book idea. But I also want to make friends and networking connections. And leave a good impression.
I'm just at the end of editing a novel and wondering if the ending is right. I think I need to add another scene to make it work.
How awesome! Everythings a learning experience maybe this year you'll be in command of the situation. I pray for God to bless you BIG this year! I can't wait to hear good report!
Good points, all. Candee, you're so right… the bottom line is to be nice, sincere, and friendly.
And agent lady who I flubbed with was oh so nice about it, which was GREAT.
I think the other note, along this line, is not to STALK agents/editors either. No bathroom stall pitches, no butting into conversations, no interrupting. In fact, I don't think I'd, personally, EVER just go up to an agent and say, "Hi, I'm Krista… can I pitch to you?" or anything like that. If it's meant to be, it will flow nicely out of your back and forth conversation. And if you build a relationship BEFORE you pitch… that's even better. Let's you feel more comfortable during the actual pitch session (either in your appt or at lunch/dinner)
I'm with Eileen. The pictures don't always do the agents/editors justice. They may have changed their hairstyle or normally wear glasses.
Once the conference gets going, I take the easy route: I read the name tag. 🙂
Who would I recognize? Rachelle Garnder, Chip MacGregor, Sandra Biship, Natasha Kern, Steve Laube, and some others….but I don't think I'd recognize many of the editors. Great suggestion, BTW. 🙂
Great post. I'm also trying to put in my mind which agents rep what. I know I won't have much luck pitching a high fantasy to someone who doesn't rep it. And I finished my first draft for my WIP! I'm thrilled. Good luck at the conference. I'm excited to see your posts after it.
I have a hard time with faces & names together fairly often. lol I may not remember a name but I usually remember a face.
Current project status? Ummm still writing. lol
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