Truth be told, I hadn’t been to a writers conference in years. I am often asked, but I usually suggest that our other agents should attend in my place. I remember years ago at a conference in Seattle, one of the other (inexperienced) agents asking me why I was there – suggesting that because I had a full client roster I shouldn’t be looking for new ones when neophyte agents needed the exposure.
But when I was invited to attend last weekend’s ANWA Writers Conference, I remembered how much I could get out of the experience.
Of course, we agents all like to think that our presence at these meetings provides useful information to the participants. And there is always the possibility that one of the attending writers might even find representation for their work.
But I found that I, too, came away with so much from the experience:
First, I got away from my office and that always gives me perspective.
Second, I met some really wonderful and interesting people: a lawyer who traveled to numerous third world countries to represent clients; a woman who is a men’s athletic coach; a “story teller” (she was amazing — I didn’t know that there are professional story tellers — people who attend events and, as a kind of performance, tell stories).
Third, I learned about what other agents not in New York are thinking and how they do business and about some smaller publishers on the West Coast.
And finally, I am very hopeful that as a result of my being there, and talking with so many people, I will find some exciting new material. Over the years I have indeed found some wonderful new clients at these events and, as a curious person, I am always looking.
I am so grateful to be given the opportunity to share my years of experience with others; I enjoy public speaking and I enjoy talking one on one about book ideas. So, hopefully I will not absentmindedly pass along future invitations to conferences when I feel I can both make an important contribution and benefit from participating.
I would love to hear what your writers conference experiences have been like.