Last Saturday, October 23, I attended the Florida Writers Association (FWA) yearly conference. I was nervous, because meeting one new person a week is my preferred networking speed.
Nothing was a bad as I imagined, barring the workshops delivered via powerpoint presentation and the hours-long awards ceremony (which was probably dull only because I didn’t submit!).
Here are my observations:
- First workshop at 7 o’dark: Jamie from Woodstream Writers gave a writing prompt and read around. I knew the prompt would be great as always, but I doubted my ability to write before ten o’clock in the morning. The result? Actual words. I wrote ’em. I don’t remember them, but I think I saved the file. The bonus? Jamie stalked every single one of the 50+ participants to give them notes on their piece. Her notes on mine made me glad I wrote it. Thanks, Jamie!
- Speaking to fellow writers: OK, I expected most writers to be unpleasant and self-engrossed, like me. Not so, not so at all. Some prime examples of their generosity are: Peggy Miller, editor, teacher and poet and Dana Summers, cartoonist.
- Meeting authors of published books without slobbering or trying to jab them with my pen: These authors were lovely to me, and I would recommend them based on friendliness alone–Laura Parker Castoro and Mark H. Newhouse.
- The PITCH. Oh, yeah, I did–courtesy of Jamie at Woodsteam, who steered me to the sign up table. During the day, I heard horror stories about agents waving writers away before they even sat down, but I got lucky, lucky, lucky. Veronica Hart signed me up with Roger Williams of the Publish or Perish Agency, and he treated me with such kindness that I was smiling for an hour. He doesn’t often represent science fiction (no one at the conference did, as far as I know), but he gave me tips and ideas, and offered to take a look at my mystery novel in progress. Wow.
Being with a large group in a confined space for 12+ hours almost guarantees that even a social inept like me will eventually speak to writers, authors and agents. Some of whom will talk back.