Today’s cub reporter is Nancy Naigle who attended the Writers Digest Conference in NYC over the weekend. Nancy writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. She and her husband live in rural Virginia on their goat farm where they are living out their own small town love story.
Hey friends. The conference booklet for the 2011 Writer’s Digest Conference was appropriate, because when I arrived in New York City Friday afternoon it was to snow flurries and the coldest temperatures they’ve seen in years. Unlike other NY hotels I’ve stayed in the last couple of years for these conferences, it was a happy surprise to find my room at the Sheraton had a coffee pot. Hooray! Barbara, you’ll have to tell the coffee pot story in the comments. Yes, it’s truly the little things that mean the most!
Friday night, Richard Curtis got down and dirty into the details of being an agent in the shifting landscape of publishing, and
how the infatuation with screen readers is impacting and changing the way we buy books. Don’t give up on books, however. They aren’t going anywhere.
The highlight on Friday for me was the charming Chuck Sambuchino who shared insider tips on how to make the best of the pitch opportunities on Saturday at the pitch slam. In a nutshell, his advice was to use only half of your allotted time pitching so you have time to interact with the agent. Set the stage. Start with the genre, title, word count and status of your manuscript (ie is it complete?) Then, follow up with the logline, and quickly intro the main character and inciting incident. Easy as pie, right?
So, picture this. A grand ballroom in a New York City hotel. The room sprawls the entire second floor. Seated around that room – 55 awesome literary agents. Some looked as nervous as the writers getting ready to pitch. Each agent would be pitched every three minute increment for the next two hours. That’s a lot of pitches!
Outside the doors, over 500 nervous writers snaked from one end of the hall to the other between huge pillars in two directions. The picture here doesn’t do it justice. Most of the folks I chatted with after the Pitch Slam said they pitched 6-10 of the agents on their wish lists in the allotted time.
The staff at Writers Digest did a great job leveraging twitter to share information by posting hashtags for every session. You can check out activities and comments on twitter at #wdc11.
Aside from the standard sessions on craft, there were several focused on marketing (I’ve got pages and pages of notes from those), and others on how to do-it-yourself or through subsidy presses. It was a diverse schedule that met the needs of the attendees that was a mix of fiction, non-fiction, journalists and poets.
The closing keynote was Ben LeRoy of Tyrus Books who spoke about looking for a resurgence of books about every day people in extraordinary circumstances. He took us on a verbal journey through some of his travels to the small towns he’s discovered and fallen in love with. It was a wonderful and thoughtful way to end the weekend.
I’m excited to be staying in town for DIGITAL BOOK WORLD. It kicks off Monday and runs through Wednesday. This one focuses on the publishing end of the process. If you want to follow along on the action as it happens, the twitter hashtag is #dbw11.
If you’re interested in becoming a Cub Reporter for Beyond Her Book and planning on attending a conference I won’t be at, please let me know by sending me an email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Bottom Line: Thanks to Nancy for being our eyes and ears at Writers Digest and we’re looking forward to her wrap up of Digital Book World.