Well, here I am at the Colorado Springs Marriott. The picture is right before the big Friday night dinner. I had just changed out of my staff shirt and into something a little dressier. So...let me tell you about my day!
I started out at the pitch desk. I got to greet a few people before I had to run off to moderate my first session. Thankfully, I was connected with someone who walked me through it. This session was about how to get the most out of any writers' conference. It was pretty informative.
The second session I moderated was author Lisa Renee Jones. She spoke on how to find the right agent. I really liked what she had to say - "The agent works for you." That totally twisted my idea of what a pitch session is about. I was looking at it as an audition. Now, I'm looking at it as an opportunity for the agent...not just for me. Wow! What a change! I feel a lot more confident in that! Not to say that I won't be nervous tomorrow when staring down the barrel of the pitching gun, but it sure alleviates some worry. Lisa also talked a lot about indie publishing. She almost has me convinced that that's the way to go. So much so, in fact, I purchased a book on how to indie publish.
I ate lunch with Pam van Hylckama Vlieg. I was late getting into the ballroom and took the first seat I could toward the back. Happened to be right next to her. I leapt out of my comfort zone and asked a ton of questions from those folks around me. I was so proud of myself. I even spoke with Pam quite a bit, but I refused to pitch to her right there. I didn't think that was fair to her. I wanted her to be able to enjoy her lunch. We connected as moms, so that was enough for me.
I then participated in a Read-and-Critique session with agent Hannah Bowman. For the record, she pronounces her name HAHN-ah. Think Han Solo and add the "ah" at the end. She was really pleasant! I had queried her a while back, resulting in a rejection, but I didn't bring that up. Instead, I read the first page of Xadrez. She gave me some notes to work on, and I so appreciate that. The best thing about this session: it humanized the agent. Hannah wasn't a blurb and headshot on a website...an unapproachable, unattainable lofty deity. Nope. She was a regular human being. I LOVE that realization!
And because I had such a revalation in that, I decided to observe the next session with Barry Goldblatt. I'll be pitching to him tomorrow...and I really, really need him to be human. Watching him...getting a feel for who he is in person...makes such a difference. If I couple that with Lisa's advice, I think tomorrow has some real possibilities.
I spent a little more time at the pitch desk before going to my favorite session of the day. A discussion of the Christian market with author Robert Liparulo. It was enjoyable on several levels: I was with people who spoke my language, God could be mentioned without people cringing, and Robert was not only a nice guy, but quite knowledgeable. He took time with a couple of folks afterward, too. I learned quite a bit, and I hope to connect with Robert again in the next couple of days.
This evening, we had our first dinner. It was really nice. I sat with Chris Mandeville, former president of PPW. She was gracious, kind, and friendly. The folks around me were engaging as well. It was a good time overall, although by the end, I was pretty wiped out and ready to see my kids. I didn't stick around, even though I would have really liked to chat up some more folks. But I have two more days of conference, so I'm sure there will be time.
Oh, I also have to mention the highlight of the evening. I got a headshot taken by an excellent photographer! It's for a specific use on the PPW blog, but the conversation I had with the photographer was so much fun. It was indeed a lovely time.
I don't know what you have in store for me tomorrow, PPWC, but I am ready! And so looking forward to it!!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3