Tag: NY Pitch Conference

NY Pitch Conference

Crime Bake

I spent last weekend at the New England Crime Bake, which is a small mystery conference in Massachusetts. By small I mean intimate, by which I mean that you could sit down at a table with mega-best-selling author Lisa Gardner and ask her questions. (I did not ask a question, but I did make a comment. An introvert’s triumph!)  There were so many craft lectures on topics I wanted to learn about: Lisa Gardner talking about Character Development, Jane Cleland talking about Mastering Suspense, fabulous agent Paula Munier talking about Practicing Your Pitch, Susan Reynolds talking about how to Fire Up Your Writing Brain. Then there were “Drop in and Ask the Expert” panels, including our own Miss Demeanor Robin Stuart teaching about cyber crime and Bruce Coffin explaining police procedurals. One of my favorite panels was titled “The Survivors Club: Career Strategies for the Long Haul.” On the panel were moderator Lisa Haselton and panelists Lea Wait, Stephen D. Rogers and Toni L.P. Kelner. Listening to them speak, honestly and humorously about a career in the writing business, was like going to therapy. There were the horror stories about editors departing suddenly and writers being jettisoned. Stephen Rogers has had 800 short stories published, which sounds fabulous, except that in order to reach that number he had to get 4,000 rejections. They shared stories about changing their names to get more sales,  trying to adapt to the times,  compromises they had to make or didn’t make. At the end, wrapping up the session, Toni said something wonderful that I didn’t write down, so I’m paraphrasing it, but it was something like, I’m so happy with what I do. I can’t complain at all. Agreed. Then there was the final banquet, and the Miss Demeanors (among them Michele Dorsey, who co-organized this fabulous conference) and an assortment of wonderful people, were honored for our achievements.  As everyone cheered, I thought how blessed I was to be part of this wonderful community.    

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This past weekend I was a workshop leader at the New York Pitch Conference. I’m in charge of the women’s fiction/literary fiction/memoir group, so I get to hear many wonderful stories. Many that I hope to read in book form at some point or another. I am continually awed by the diversity of stories out there. Just in my group there were people from India and Ghana and Lebanon and England. Professors and Ph.Ds. People who’ve survived some terrible things and others who’ve survived Hollywood. People who seem very polished and people who are scribbling notes on bits of paper. Mothers and daughters and some really odd people. It’s also fascinating to me how individual this publishing business is. Every editor reacts to each pitch in a different way. The very same pitch will be met with enthusiasm from one editor and blank indifference from another. They like for you to have a large social media presence. They like to know you’ve worked hard on your story–whether by studying writing or having pieces workshopped by beta readers. They like for you to have good comps. They like all these things unless they don’t really care because they like your story so much. Or they like you so much.  Or they like your shoes. It’s a mystery.  But I’m happy to report that almost every member of my group got a request from an editor, and most got more than one. Now the next part of the process begins, the revising and waiting and hoping. Fingers crossed!    

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Should you go to a conference?

 I sold my first novel, The Fiction Class, to an editor I met at the NY Pitch Conference. A few years later,  I met my fabulous agent, Paula Munier,  at the NY Pitch Conference. She sold my Maggie Dove mystery series to an editor I had met at the NY Pitch Conference. So it would be fair to say, I’m in the pro-conference camp. (I should add that I now work at the NY Pitch Conference.)  Last year, with my new mystery series debuting, I thought it  important to get out and meet people in the mystery-writing community, and so I went to three new (to me) conferences: Malice Domestic, which is geared toward cozies, Bouchercon, which is huge and was in New Orleans, and Writers’ Police Academy, which was in Wisconsin and gave me lots of hands-on experience. The conferences were thrilling, exhausting and educational and I’m still going through my notes. So, I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors what they felt about conferences and this is what they said:  Count me among the big fans, too. I attend a lot of conferences for both my day job and my writing career and learned early on that you get out of them what you put in. Like most experiences in life. Through writers’ conferences I’ve learned the difference between writing for myself and writing for commercial markets, continually learn how to hone my craft, and offer my technology expertise to fellow authors during social events to anyone who asks. I’ve also seized opportunities to hang out with a couple of my heroes whose careers I intend to mimic. And, of course, I met my wonderful agent, Paula, at a conference 🙂
–Robin Stuart Conferences? I’m a huge advocate. There’s no other place where you can learn about the business, network, and feel like a part of a vibrant community. Of course I met Paula at my first writer’s conference so I’m predisposed to like them. And there are so many choices – near and far, for craft, networking or to meet fans. Anywhere or any type, I return home re-charged. –Tracee de Hahn It’s how I found Paula. That was super helpful for me. I don’t know from a sales perspective. They always seem like writers talking to other writers. I makes me feel like I have a community, though–Cate Holahan I love writer’s conferences. As a writer, I love them for craft, camaraderie, and creativity. As an author, I love them for selling books and networking. As an agent, I love them for meeting new writers and hanging out with editors and agents and clients. Best of all, they’re fun!–Paula Munier I adore writing conferences where I can get lots of information about craft and the business of writing and seek the comfort and company of fellow writers. This year I am co-chair of my favorite conference, The New England Crime Bake. I’d love to see you there. 

–Michele Dorsey  

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