Currently Reading - My own book, Amish, Vamps & Thieves, in preparation for sending to requesting agents
Three requests aren't the only reason the 2010 Lone Star was a fabulous conference. Vice-President Stacey Purcell and her jolly crew of volunteers worked their asses off to provide an wonderful experience for everyone.
Festivities started Friday night. Stacey and her husband Pete opened their lovely home to the attendees, speakers and agents. Incredible food, good drinks and fascinating conversation quickly followed. The reception broke up fairly early since registration started at the ungodly hour of 8AM.
That didn't stop a few of us meeting in the room of Party Goddess Ruth afterwards. Seriously, Ruth Kenjura is noted for her informal wine-and-chocolate conference get-togethers. Everyone's invited, but she has just one rule--her room is a no-pitch zone. The idea is to provide a comfortable place for folks to get to know each other. If you're going to RWA National in New York, find a NWHRWA member. She'll show you the way to the party!
Of course, even after we left Ruth's for our room, Christie and I were up until the wee hours, gabbing away.
The next day, speaker Randy Ingermanson adressed a full house on story structure in the morning, then internet marketing in the afternoon. All three agents had full pitch schedules. The Luncheon Keynote speaker, Agent Christine Witthohn, gave a breakdown of where she sees the publishing industry heading in the Sea of Change. You know e-books were mentioned more than once. Christie Craig then announced the winners of the Lone Star Writing Contest. Our hometown girl, JoAnn Robisheaux, won first prize in the Inspirational category.
I spent a lot of time with Bonnie Starling, who won second place in the YA category. Can you believe this very lovely lady flew down from Ontario, Canada, to attend? She wasn't the only long-distance traveler. Marina Osipova, a finalist in the Single Title category, arrived from Russia by way of Staten Island. These gals are a lot of fun. It's too bad they both live so far away!
MAJOR COMPLIMENTS go to Chef Tony and Chef Scott of the Greenspoint Mariott! Not only was the conference food delicious, these guys went out of their way to create some terrific dishes for my buddy Diane who suffers from severe food allergies. The three berry ice cream they designed for her really needs to be added to their regular menu. And let's just say their grilled asparagus is to die for!
Everyone who stayed at the hotel Saturday night, including the agents, ended up at Ruth's (of course). Talk turned to industry news, and I loved getting the straight scoop from industry professionals.
The thing that surprised me the most was when Christine Witthohn said she only gets roughly 25% of the manuscripts she requests at conferences. Amy Boggs and Naomi Hackenberg seconded Christine's experience, though Naomi said hers runs more to 30%.
[Insert all seven of George Carlin's Words You Can't Say on Radio or TV here.]
Folks, if you're going through the trauma of pitching, send the f***ing manuscript to them! Seriously, that makes absolutely no sense to me, especially since these three ladies took time out of their insane schedules to come to the conference in the first place. You've got their ear. Make the most of the connection because your career may hinge on it.
Now, I'm off to follow my own advice. . .
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