Monday, March 26, 2012

Meet the Agents Speed Dating

A Date With Destiny?


Just had to write a quick post to tell you my good news. I went to this amazing event in San Francisco on Saturday, organized by the Women's National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter (WNBA-SF). They hosted a 'speed-dating' of Agents and Acquisition Editors, plus a keynote lunch with best-selling author Meg Waite Clayton (who was great).


When I awoke at 6am on Saturday morning, it was pouring with rain and still dark, and all I wanted to do was close my eyes and go back to sleep. Instead, I forced myself up and into the shower and then drove the hour or so into San Francisco. Boy, am I glad I did too. I was meeting a friend, Janine, from our writing group - the newly formed Write On, Mamas! We were both nervous but determined to put our big girl panties on and present ourselves and our books in the best possible light. There were about ten Agents/Editors and only about 20-30 of us hopeful writers - much less than the previous year, according to Janine - probably due to the appalling weather, which continued to pound down on the conservatory roof of the chilly restaurant in which the event was being held.

I was really nervous initially - how to summarise my memoir into a one minute pitch and still make it sound interesting and funny? - but after the first agent, who was lovely and didn't tell me I was out of my mind and who did I think I was anyway, to be writing a bloody book and expecting it to get published, I realized that it wasn't so difficult after all. I was lucky enough to meet nine of the ten agents (the last one was a bit scary and didn't take narrative non-fiction anyway, so I gave her a wide berth) and of those, four (yes, count them, FOUR) asked for either a partial or full manuscript when I've finished writing it. How fab it that?! I couldn't believe it. They actually sounded interested. They offered lots of invaluable advice and suggestions. One lovely lady, who wasn't interested in the book for her company, even made a suggestion to improve the title: Mr Right From The Start. Much better. I love it!

And as if that wasn't enough - Janine pitched our Write On, Mamas! Anthology idea and one agent not only loved it, but wants to be part of the planning. She is going to meet with us and advise us how to formulate the best possible book and then help us publish it. We were on a roll!

Now, I know that none of these agents may be interested in taking me on even when they've read my final manuscript. I know that asking for a partial or full manuscript is only the very first, baby steps towards publication. But what this has given me is a massive dose of inspiration to finish writing. I keep procrastinating and not writing. One thing is certain - if I don't finish writing it, then there is no way in hell it will ever get published. So, regardless of whether any of these lovely, lovely people will eventually help me to get my book onto the shelves, I now have four very real places to send my book and it has totally motivated me to finish the damn thing!

18 comments:

  1. wow, that's so awesome. Better get writing!

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  2. How exciting Claire! Now, get writing...

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    1. Thanks Raelyn. GOT to prioritize it over everything! Argh!

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  3. Sounds like an awesome experience. My agent is from SF...was Katherine Boyle there?

    New follower...
    demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for following, Demitria. No, she wasn't there. I will pop over to visit you.

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  4. That is awesome, now you surely have to motivation you need, unplug everything and get to it!

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    1. Absolutely! How are sales for your book going?

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  5. I wonder if there is such a thing here in the UK as I've never hear of speed-dating an agent. Well Done and get writing, girl! Good Luck!

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  6. Hi Claire, I hope you don't mind but I've just tagged you for the Lucky Seven Meme. You have to go to page 77 of your Work in Progress and select line 7 and copy out the next 7 lines of sentences, or paragraphs then find seven more people to tagged. It's a great way to promote your book or WIP.

    Hope you can join in.
    PS. sorry if you have already been tagged.

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    1. I don't know about speed dating agents (I once speed dated for real - how funny was that - gosh, must include that in my book!). Thanks for the tag - not sure when I can do it though as I'm doing a dragon blog hop on 29th March and then all through April it's the A-Z Challenge - maybe it can be my L word!

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    2. All you do is post 7 lines from your novel on your blog. Drop by my blog and you can read 7 lines from my WIP.

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  7. Such good news - well done you. We all need the incentive and motivation to keep going and having received interest from strangers must feel extra good.

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    1. Thanks Sally - yes, it's given me a kick up the bum to get writing again.

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  8. I am so happy for you. You are fantastic and it doesn't surprise me in the least that you would recieve so much attention. Congratulations. If you need a beta reader i'm here for you and I can't wait to hear more about your writing group and the anthology.

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    1. Aw you're making me blush! I would LOVE you be a beta reader - gonna hold you to that :)

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