So… OMG. There is so much to say, I don’t even begin to know where to start! This was a FABULOUS conference and I had the time of my life… in great part to my SecondLife roleplay mom and writing buddy, Sage Wolfsong. We roomed together, and even though we’d never met in real life before, we got along as if we’d known each other all our lives! I also got to meet my SL friend and writing buddy, Paul, and the three of us hung out during and in between various workshops. We spent lots of time texting back and forth to find out where we all were and where we were going next. Jenn was much more social than me, as she has an online bookstore and is a reviewer and blogger, and I kinda got to live vicariously through her, LOL!
The BIG thing I want to report is the stunning success of the Speed Pitch Event! I was scared to death about this… pitching to 13 agents/editors, at 3 minutes each. The fact is, once it started, there just was not time to be nervous. I am VERY proud of myself for not shrinking or stuttering, or freezing up. In fact, I looked each one right in the eye and held out my hand and said “Hi, I’m Allie McCormack” to the Manor born!
Let me say here, that I’d spent a WEEK researching every agent and editor who was going to be in that room, cyberstalked them, and had a printed sheet on each telling what they wanted and what manuscript I was going to pitch to each one… but there was no TIME for that. So I kind of winged it with the very first one and from there just used that; I told them I had a multicultural Arab-American contemporary series of which 2 of 4 books were finished, a 3-book paranormal series with Djinn and shapeshifters, all of which were finished, and a trilogy that was a paranormal romance in a 15th century Arabian Nights type setting, that was finished but still in revisions… and which did they want to hear?
This totally worked! And there were a few surprises for me out of this event! One agent wasn’t looking for anything I was writing, but when I explained that, she wanted to know what I was writing, so I told her, and darned if she didn’t ask more about the multicultural, and wound up asking to see a partial! Another HUGE surprise was the real interest shown in When Darkness Falls (the trilogy), which I had not expected AT ALL! But I came out of the event with 3 requests to see the first 3 chapters! Another huge surprise, I got not one but TWO requests for FULL manuscripts (one was the agent that wasn’t looking for any of the subgenres I am writing, and the other was an editor!), AND one agent actually asked for two partials, while another asked for a synopsis of each of the series and of the trilogy.
Here’s the breakdown of the requests:
- Swansong (1st book, Sons of the Desert, multicultural contemporary series): 5 partials, 1 synopsis 1 FULL!
- Wishes in a Bottle (1st book, Wishes & Dreams, paranormal series): 2 partials, 1 synopsis & 1 FULL!
- When Darkness Falls (paranormal trilogy): 3 partials & 1 synopsis
As you can imagine, I have some work to do this week!
In addition, I attended a fantastic workshop on audiobooks, with a panel consisting of Hannah Wall of ACX (Audible/Amazon), Will Dages of Findaway Voices, Nita Basu of Hachette Audio, and Tracy Goodwin, a multipublished author with experience publishing many audiobooks. There’s too much to go into here (besides, it makes my head spin to try to sort it all out until I can get my notes typed out) but what I came away with is that I most definitely want to release Truck Stop as an audiobook!!!
I went to more workshops than I can count, but I will say that the ones I came away with a LOT to think about were the Subtle Art of Pacing, Strategic Career Planning for Pre-Published Authors, and Eliciting Emotion. I have tons of notes to transcribe, and lots of areas already I want to go through my WIP particularly, When Darkness Falls, and see where I can improve.
I didn’t get to see much (any) of Denver, and I missed ALL the social events… the two luncheons and the awards ceremony as well as the book signings. Unfortunately dealing with chronic pain one has to choose. It was go to the luncheons and crash and miss the workshops in the afternoons, or sleep through the luncheons and hit all the afternoon workshops. I hadn’t at all intended to waste lots of money eating at the hotel restaurants…. but we were just too tired to deal with going out, so we just went down to the hotel restaurant. They had this awesome Bacon BBQ Cheddar Hamburger that was to die for… with a rum-based BBQ sauce and a kind of garlic mayo sauce they put on it. And I don’t even like hamburgers! But if one must pay $17 for a hamburger, this one was totally worth it! Mostly I didn’t eat in the daytime, I took along a gallon of brewed sweet iced tea and kept it in the room refrigerator, and carried a thermal glass of tea with me everywhere 🙂 So I pretty much lived on that all day, and then had dinner.
It was awesome to run into some Tucson RWA members, like Roz Denny Fox, and do some catching up 🙂 I know my friend LeAnne Bristow was there, but though we exchanged a couple of texts we never managed actually catching up in person. It was harder looking for specific people, there were just so many people there, and the conference was spread over 2 buildings on various levels, with lots of time spent on elevators and going back and forth. I had lots of fun zipping around in my electric scooter and thank heavens for it, too, or I’d never have made it past Wednesday.
Another area where I got encouragement was for the newsletter. I have to admit I’m always waffling about should I? shouldn’t I? I’ve only got Truck Stop, but nothing else even pending at this point as far as new releases… yet everyone says we need a newsletter even if we’re not yet published or between releases. This came up in the Pre-Publishing Career Planning class. The instructor said (as others have also done), emphatically, YES! She said if they are interested enough to follow you, then they WANT to read about your progress and so forth, and she had lots of good suggestions! So… I shall persevere!!
I left Denver after dropping off Jenn at the airport, and had every intention of stopping overnight in Albuquerque, which was almost exactly halfway home. But when I got there it was only like 5:30 or so, and what was I going to do a whole evening sitting in a hotel room? So I thought, I’ll drive til it gets dark and then start looking for a hotel. Only when it got dark I was only about an hour from Hatch, which was where the bypass to Deming began, a 45-mile corridor that cut over from the I-25 to the I-10 cutting the corner off Las Cruces. So I thought, I’ll go on to Hatch and then Deming, and that would be a good place to spend the night. Only when I got to Deming and filled up the gas tank, really I was feeling just great and… well, the long and short of it is, I drove straight through and pulled into my driveway about 12:30 am! LOL! Considering I’d been doing really well the whole way, the instant I walked in the door with my purse and my pillow (yes, I take my own pillow!), I suddenly was on the verge of collapse. I petted my cat, gave him some food for good measure, and collapsed into bed, LOL.