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Confessions of a Writers Conference Attendee

As many of you may know, I’ll be attending the ACFW Writers Conference in Denver next month. Over the years, I’ve been blessed with attending lots of conferences to the point that I now consider myself a bit of a veteran expert. At attending that is—not pitching my manuscript. While I’m comfortable talking with literary agents, editors, and publishers, I’m a big fraidy-cat when it comes to explaining what my story is about and then waiting for their responses.

In a one-on-one conversation with an agent, the moment I open my mouth tumbleweeds roll out and my tongue sticks to my gums. I usually sit there like a petrified doofus while the poor agent waits patiently for me to speak—move—or otherwise show signs of life. Inside my head, birds chirp and flitter about from one synapse to another and I wish, for that moment, that a body double could take my place and seal the deal.

Now, here’s the killer part. I’m usually a very confident person. I’ve met with big city mayors, high-ranking state officials, powerful CEOs and I’m fine. I manage to eat food without spitting on folks, and drink water without dribbling, and…you get the picture. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out what makes me so nervous about pitching my blasted novel. Honest to Pete!

At last, a teeny, tiny, little kernel of a reason has seeped into my consciousness. This novel, which is my first, is my baby. Who wants someone to call their baby grotesque? Who wants to watch people sprint from the church, at breakneck speed, when their baby is christened? I surely don’t! Do you?

But when you stop and think about it, pitching a novel concept or presenting a proposal for a manuscript that you’ve come to love is a lot like waiting for your baby to be accepted by the world or shunned into hiding. Dadgum it…that’s just the way it is.

The song, The Way It Is, by Bruce Hornsby and the Range says it perfectly. Somewhere in this fandangled WordPress program I’m supposed to be able to play music, but darn if I can figure out how it works. Thankfully, though, I found a video of Bruce and his band performing their classic song on “Good Morning America.”


Related Posts:

Nangie Writing Workshop 101

The Genesis Writing Contest

CMA – Christian Media Association


10 Responses

  1. Having yet to attend my first conference, I am not a veteran. But I can relate to being able to talk to famous people, but becoming tongue tied when you are with a certain group.


  2. If Bruce can do it on the studio of Good Morning America, I’ve got confidence you can do it in Denver. And ‘that’s just the way it is!’. Enjoy your time there! Wish I’d met you in Minneapolis in 2008 at the MOA.

  3. What’s so strange to me, Lori, is that one would think it would be just the opposite. Seems like talking to famous people should be less comfortable then other groups of people, but for me it’s not that way. Go figure…

  4. Thank you, Linda, for the pep talk. 🙂 I hope we have a chance to meet at a writers conference in the future.

  5. Hmm, I have the same problem. I’ve come to the conclusion my story isn’t so bad, but my pitch is awful and doesn’t do it justice.

    I end up trying to give them the entire plot in two minutes. A friend did a post today that made bells go off in my head. We’re not supposed to give them the whole plot, only the theme. Duh.

    You can do this, Sharon. Remember – theme, not the entire plot!

    Susan 🙂

  6. LOL! Funny! You can do what I did last year and tell every editor that they don’t want your manuscript because it’s too edgy. Then they always say they might want it and ask you to tell them more. SO you tell them about the gist of it and they want the full. 🙂 That way you are telling them all the great reasons they won’t take it not all of the things that are great about the story.

  7. Susan, the insight you shared makes total sense. I don’t know why I never thought lof it ike that before. Focusing on the theme seems so much easier to convey in a few words. Thank you so much.

  8. Michelle , your idea could actually work for me…hum…I might just have to borrow your approach. 🙂

  9. Sharon, I think this is going to be your year in Denver. I believe that your baby will “soon be born.” And I can’t wait to hear the results of the Genesis contest. It’s so exciting that your novel is a finalist! The agents and editors may be coming to you. 🙂

  10. Thank you, Mary, for encouraging me. I sure hope your right and this novel/baby will be born soon. 🙂 I’m sooooo ready!

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