Tag Archives: writing conference

Lit Agent Fairy Dust: The Path to Making Dreams Come True

spinaltap_2430544bWith the Writing and Yoga Retreat just two weeks away, I’ve been so ridiculously busy that my head is spinning. It’s so tempting to say “literally spinning” but can you imagine if it was literally spinning?! Someone call Dial-an-Exorcist, please! But you get what I mean, right? My usual ADD way of mucking through life — oh wait! there’s something shiny over there! — has been amped up to 11.

One might ask oneself why a literary agent who is already quite busy working with her amazing clients, who has already  done a round of Spring writing conferences, and is already scheduled to go to conferences in August, September,  October and November, why that (insane? masochistic? just plain stupid?) person would decide to create a writing retreat from scratch and host it in July…. Why?!

imgresWell, it’s kind of like this: I’m in the business of making dreams come true. Now stop rolling your eyes. Stop shaking your head. Stop saying, “Well, how come you’re not making my dream come true, wench?!” The funny thing about making dreams come true is that it starts at home. That is to say, every time I make my own dreams come true I get a little bit more sparkly fairy dust to sprinkle around for other people. For years my friend, the extraordinary poet (novelist, yogi, librarian, writing insructor) Stefanie Lipsey, and I had been talking about how awesome it would be to lead a retreat for writers that would encompass some of the cool things from the cool work we’ve done in various aspects of our lives.

yoga_silhouette_vector_collectionOf course that would include yoga. I mean, Stefanie is one of those really bendy, flexible, chillaxed yogini people (well, compared to me, anyway) and I do my little yoga practice once or twice a week. For like the past 15+ years. So yeah, we wanted to include yoga in our writing retreat. But besides the twice daily opportunity to do yoga at the retreat, what’s been really cool is to be building our curriculum, the workshops themselves, the planned interstitial moments, the small touches, all with an eye on yoga. So if one goes with the assumption that yoga is the physical, mental and spiritual practices and disciplines one would engage in to attain peace, for the weekend we’re going to apply that to our writing.

How, you may ask, does this have anything to do with making my or anyone else’s dreams come true? Well, for me I’ll be facilitating and creating a small community of writers for three days, building a separate little world for just a moment where we are all focused on our works in progress. We’ll be conjuring magic and stretching ourselves physically, intellectually and creatively as we put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboards). And I fully expect to get as much out of this as I put in, both energetically and creatively (I already am!). So there’s going to be a LOT of sparkly fairy dust flying around!

fairydust800We still have a few spaces left for last minute registrations. If you’re interested, but still have questions or are worried that you’re not “right” for this retreat, just shoot me and Stefanie an email so we can address any of your questions or concerns. And FYI, for local NY folks, there’s now a daytripper rate, which makes this phenomenal weekend more affordable.


So I’m off now, to flitter around from sparkly thing to sparkly thing, in between negotiating contracts, reading and editing manuscripts, going through queries, sending and receiving a gazillion emails and phone calls, wheeling and dealing film and television options, and doing a (teeny tiny) bit of my own writing. Oh look! A Butterfly! Chasing a Unicorn! Over a Rainbow!



Filed under Uncategorized

Writing Conferences: The Agent on the Other Side of the Table

This weekend I popped my writing conference cherry at the Willamette Writers Conference in Portland, Oregon. Actually, I’ve been to writing conferences before, but as a writer not as an agent. This weekend I sat and took pitches from one million and forty seven people. It’s so difficult to know whether anything will come of any of it, because I haven’t actually seen any of the writing yet. But I’m hopeful.

Face to face pitching is excruciating, both for the writer and for the agent. On the writer side, I know how you just want to get it right, convey the beauty or majesty or seriousness or humor or importance or fun of your manuscript, and have that agent say, “Yes! I want to see the whole thing and I want to be your agent and we’re going to make a million bucks because this is the best thing I’ve ever heard of or seen ever!” Or maybe even, “Sure. Send me the first 10 pages.” I get that, because I’m a writer and I’ve been on that side of the pitching table. On the agent side, I’m hoping to hear something interesting, so I’m really listening for that, fingers crossed under the table.

But some people don’t do their homework and pitch me things that I just don’t represent. I hate that, because I hate telling someone not even to bother sending it. But I did tell some people that. And then sometimes I could just tell it wasn’t for me, something about the content or structure or theme. I’m just interested in what I’m interested in and not interested in what I’m not interested in. Although I don’t like to tell folks no, I also am not sorry for liking what I like.

There were so many things to like, too! Because some people did do their homework! I got a great MG pitch that I’m particularly  looking forward to seeing and also a fun YA that I’m eager for. And some potentially interesting fantasy/sci fi and a lot of literary fiction! And I have no idea if any of it will be good or a good fit for my list or pan out to actually be up my alley (Ok, I have a little idea of whose I think might be good though…).

But here’s what I like about being at a conference: the authors are these brave souls who are on this journey to express something and I might be able to help them with that. So if I say no or yes I try (sometimes more successfully than others) to have them walk away having gained something from the interaction. Sometimes I’m giving them writing advice, or coaching them on pitching or just reassuring them that agents are just human beings like themselves. Sometimes I’m letting them know that they should do their homework before pitching.

And what I love, although it’s totally exhausting, is meeting the people.

Have you been to writing conferences? What do you hate or love about them?



Filed under Uncategorized