For two days you have anywhere from fifty to one hundred people attending back to back workshops. Usually you're able to re-connect with old friends and make some new friends. Some of the workshops are given by local talent and a few presented by NY Times best sellers. They share their knowledge about their journey to success. Plenty of time to ask questions, and if you didn’t get the chance during the workshop, you always have a chance at dinner, or in the evening.
But the opportunity to meet a wonderful editor or agent cannot be topped. At nationals you barely know who are the agents or editors unless you go to a pitch appointment, then you’re very lucky to catch them alone to have a conversation with them. I’m not talking pitch, I’m talking a personal conversation about the industry or what they like or dislike, you know like normal friends.
Not only did I have an opportunity to pitch my story to Amanda Bergeron of Avon Books, but I had the chance to get to know her. She’s a wonderful person. She’s young and fresh, and eager to find new talent. I hope she likes my work. But if she doesn’t I will always remember what fun it was to meet her and spend time with her.
Now you think, oh that’s nice, but I still have more. I had an opportunity to do the same with two agents. Kelly Mortimer from Mortimer Literary Agency and Christine Witthohn from Book Cents Literary Agency. Kelly is very outgoing, fun and makes out of this world designer bags! Now would I have found this out at a large conference, not! She gave a wonderful workshop on editing, and then spent the rest of the day listening to folks tell her stories. (pitches)
Christine loves to ski, she usually goes to Vail, but hopefully she’s now converted to Utah Snow. She loves old buildings and their architecture. Oh and she likes to shop.
Now would I know all these things after a National conference? Nope. And one of the ways I did become more acquainted… Dinner after the conference when a group of attendees went to dinner in Park City, Busters is a great place if you’re ever in Park City.
Sunday a couple of us took Amanda and Christine to breakfast and a bit of shopping before their flights home. I would not have missed the opportunity for anything.
So the next time you have a chance to attend a small conference or better yet volunteer to help with a small committee for the conference, don’t miss it! Grab the opportunity with both hands and go for it with gusto!
Doree and myself are on the back row. From left to right on the front are, Kim, Christine, Amanda and Lisa