OWFI Conference Update

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Whew!

So last weekend was the OWFI Conference in Oklahoma City. It was held at the Embassy Suites on Meridian and in a word? Amazing.

I’d never been to a conference before. I’d kind of forgotten how awesome it feels to be surrounded by other writers with the same goals as you. Everyone there acted like everyone else there was a colleague instead of a competitor. I heard a guy on the phone, telling someone that an agent had just called, requesting his entire manuscript.

It was sort of surreal to witness that happening.

Kelley Armstrong was the keynote speaker and she gave a speech on coping with the uncertainty of being a writer. She said that she gets asked all the time if she could go back in time and tell her unpublished self one thing, what would it be? She said she used to think it would be, “Don’t worry. You’ll make it.” But now she doesn’t think she would tell herself that. She’s not sure she would have tried as hard or had the drive and determination that got her where she is today.

She gave inspirational insights into her own publishing journey, citing many times that she was rejected and told that she couldn’t write. In college, she wasn’t even accepted into the creative writing course that she submitted a piece to in order to even get a spot in the class.

I went to an agents and editors panel that was really enlightening. They told stories about the worst queries that they’d ever received. Most of which involved people either not being able to spell or threatening their lives if they didn’t publish the author’s work. No joke. People really are that crazy about writing.

Another session that I attended was put on by a fantasy agent named Sam Morgan. He was awesome! He told a story about the worst query he ever received, which devolved into the guy harassing him on Twitter and via e-mail. Again, how crazy are people? Like, does it not occur to you that you’re crossing serious boundaries? Apparently not.

Anyway, I left there feeling more like a writer and less like I’m playing pretend at being a writer.

The editor that I was going to pitch my book to ended up having to cancel her appearance at the conference due to a family emergency. I truly hope that she’s doing well. I was able to pitch to another editor and it went really well!

Thrillerfest is right around the corner and I seriously can’t wait. I get so excited thinking about it. And I get nervous. But mostly excited. For now. I’m sure that the reality of being in New York City without a friend at the conference is going to hit me pretty soon.

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t ever gone to a conference to sign up for the next one they can attend. It’s well worth it!

OWFI Conference Preview

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Eeeee!

Get excited! This weekend I’m going to my first ever writing conference and you get to go with me!

That’s right. A writing conference. With agents and editors and Kelly Armstrong.

I kind of can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do this, but a friend of mine inspired me to just jump in with both feet, brave the deeps, and pitch this book I’m working on.

Yeah, that’s right. I’m pitching my book.

I’ve never done that before so I have just as much of a clue as to how to do that as you do, dear reader. I’ll be doing my research this week and trying to brush up on my interviewing skills as well as polishing the first twenty pages or so and getting some business cards. Whew. All that along with taking care of mom and making sure she’s getting all of her physical therapy in. Yeah, I’m already exhausted, too.

I’m nervous about pitching my book. Duh, right? Wouldn’t anyone be nervous doing this their first time? Or their fifteenth? Or their forty-forth? It really hit me the other night when I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep. In a few days, I’m going to be sitting across from a Tor/Forge editor who is looking for women’s fiction and currently building her client list. That’s huge. It dawned on me how real all of this is. For so long I’ve just hid in my little cavern in there in my study and hammered away at my writing. I haven’t queried, I haven’t pitched, I haven’t done much of anything besides write. I’ve been terrified, quite honestly.

Terrified of what, though?

Rejection?

Humiliation?

Haven’t I been dealt worse blows? I would say so. I’ve survived some things that would have broken others. Natural disaster, rape, death, the list goes on.

When I look at it that way, there’s really nothing to fear. So what if the answer is no? It most likely will be! But that doesn’t mean I can’t be positive about it and look at it as a stepping stone! Every pitch and every query is just going to get me closer to my destination.

I’m pretty sure the time I contacted my junior high crush on Facebook years later and he blocked me was a lot more embarrassing and excruciating than getting a simple no from an editor/agent on a query or a pitch. Maybe not, but there’s really only one way to find out.

The advice I was given was to jump in with both feet and that’s what I’m doing.

Time to hold my nose, plunge in feet first, and swim for the surface.

Twitter: @mnvinge

Facebook: @marnievingebooks