Wednesday, December 1, 2010
So I have sent out my 30 queries in November. I have thus far received 13 rejections, 1 partial request, and three form replies telling me I won't receive anything else from those agents unless they are interested. I'd love another request or two out of this bunch, though statistically at this point I realize that is unlikely (based on my past experience).
Following through with my plan, I'm now back at work on my WIP, and have added around 2,500 words so far. My word count is getting very close to 40,000, and since I estimate the total length of this thing as barely cracking novel-hood (as in: 50,000-55,000 words), this means I'm much of the way through a first draft. In typical fashion, I've also done quite a lot of editing as I've gone through. I certainly don't think it is going to take me months and months of editing after my first draft to get it right. With some things, yes. But not with this.
Well, so as I continue to hobble forward on all fronts, I thought it might be a good idea to give myself (and, hopefully, my writing "career") a nice kick in the ass. So I decided to register for the 2011 Writers Digest Conference in New York, late in January. What really attracted me to the conference was the pitch slam, two hours in a room with 50 or 60 agents, where I'll have the chance to pitch my work to bunches of them. Having done pitches once before, at the AIW Conference here in D.C. in June, I know that it can be stressful, but also educational and very helpful.
While I did two pitches of 10 minutes each at AIW (though my pitch only took up about three minutes of each, and the rest was some feedback from the agents and some "small talk"), these pitches at the pitch slam are much shorter. I have 90 seconds to pitch, then the agent has 90 seconds to tell me how awesome my work sounds and how they want me to send them the full manuscript immediately. (Or something like that.) Chances are I'll be able to pitch to a dozen or more agents in the allotted time, even making sure I don't pitch to the ones who are only looking for nonfiction or YA or whatever.
Anyway, I'm only registering for the Saturday, but will still take Friday off from work to get my ass up to NY. I found an amazingly cheap rate on Amtrak, though. And my wife is coming with me, so we'll make a nice weekend get-away out of it. She'll wander around NY while I go to the conference. To make it a nicer time, we decided to shell out for a room in the conference hotel rather than commute in from my brother on Long Island (which I probably would have done if I'd been going alone, though since no one in my family knows about this whole writing thing, I'd have to come up with some BS story about why I was in town, not that this would be terribly difficult).
Anyway, the conference is in late January and of course I'll let you all know how it goes. I certainly don't think I will be ready to query for my WIP by then (though I do hope my first draft is complete) but I can still identify people to approach with it when it's ready and use the conference as an entre (is that a word? did I use it properly?). Meanwhile, my focus remains on getting my first novel read.
Let no one say that the Lt. isn't expending blood or treasure ($$$) on this getting-published thing!