I’m particularly nervous and excited about this conference because it will be all writers in the speculative fiction genre. People who write and think like me! So, of course, I run through my normal insecurities: What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t measure up? What if . . . my head explodes?
Then I move on to the even more nerve-wracking aspects–talking with agents and editors. Honestly, I don’t know why this part freaks me out so much. I’ve done 5 over the years (yes, I know that’s not a huge number), and only had one “bad” experience. Well, I’m not sure “bad” is the right word. Maybe, “challenging.”
It was my very first conference, and my first pitch session. I got this big editor from one of the CBA houses to talk about my suspense novel (this was before I found my place in spec fic). I was super nervous, and the editor hardly even smiled at me. I did explain that this was my first conference and first pitch session, thinking she might help me out. Not at all. She welcomed me to the conference, and that was about it. I tried my pitch, but she didn’t seem overly impressed (looking back, I probably wouldn’t have been either). She asked if I brought a sample–which I had, so I gave it to her. She spent the rest of the time reading, while I sat there twiddling my thumbs almost too nervous to even breathe. Finally, she puts the chapter down. I’m ready to faint at this point. She launches into all the stuff that I needed to work on/change. BUT she did say that I definitely had the chops to write.
Unfortunately, I walked out of there thoroughly depressed. It hadn’t been at all what I had expected.
It made me terrified of any other appointments–to the point that I canceled my other scheduled pitch session.
However, in the same conference, I had a critique with Jeff Gerke about a different manuscript. Polar opposite meeting. Jeff immediately made me feel comfortable–he smiled, he was lively, he was–well–Jeff. Yes, I had a lot to work on according to him, too, but he made me feel hopeful, like I could do it. Even though this was a critique session, and not a pitch session, he told me when I got it all done to send it to him! Yay!
The next conference I went to, I had two pitch sessions and a critique as well. These went very well. I got a request for 2 fulls (though nothing came of those). My first pitch session, the editor was late, but I got to have an impromptu session with Steve Laube because his appointment was late as well. He was great, gave me some pointers. Then, when the editor showed up, I was hardly nervous at all. She loved my premise–but later told me my story was a little too black and white for the subject area. My second pitch session, the agent said she already had a supernatural suspense client that she was shopping around and couldn’t take on another one. She didn’t say I was bad or horrible, just that she didn’t have room for me at the time.
The last conference I went to, I didn’t really have anything new. I’d been focusing on craft and rewriting and just wasn’t ready to pitch. I got to relax the whole conference! Not this year–nope. I have a fantasy to pitch, as well as a supernatural suspense (assuming that I finish it in time).
Now, even though there’s still over 2 weeks until the conference, my heart is beating fast just thinking about talking to someone (anyone) about my writing. That knot in the pit of my stomach has me ready to keel over. I hope somebody likes me. 🙂