I find some of my authors from query letters; I meet others at writers’ conferences. Today I want to talk about how writing conferences can help aspiring authors find agents and editors they’d like to work with.
Tex Thompson came to me through DFWcon, and one of the things that first made me want to work with her was her excellent networking skills. Tex goes to the volunteer desk and offers to help at every conference she attends, but at her home conference, DFWcon, she’s part of the conference committee. At the cocktail party on my first night of DFWcon, Tex made sure that I met other writers whose work she enjoyed. Only then did she tell me a bit about her own book, which sounded really interesting to me. It also helped that she was obviously well-liked by the rest of her workshop.
Carrie Patel is another client who is exceptionally good at networking. At many conventions, the people staffing the tables are either part of the sales or the editorial department. She approached the Angry Robot table and started talking with the head of sales. She was so clearly a knowledgeable fan of the publisher, and had such a good idea for her manuscript, that the head of sales asked her to come back and pitch the book to the editor– and he liked it so much that he requested it.
Obviously both Tex and Carrie had written excellent manuscripts. But their stories should make other aspiring writers consider how they might use visits to writers’ conferences to reach publication.