BEA Writer’s Convention Part Two

The crux of the whole thing is obviously the Pitch Slam. You can go anywhere and hear fantastic speakers talk about the things that were discussed in the various breakout sessions and speeches. You cannot find a room full of agents willing to listen to a horde of writers pitch their books anywhere but the BEA Writer’s Conference.

All in all I would say that the Pitch Slam went pretty much as I expected. I wish that it was a bit longer, I only got to speak to five agents in the two hours. Somehow the agents I wanted to talk to all had the longest lines and at 3 minutes a pop you burn through two hours fairly quickly.

My biggest disappointment of the trip was not being able to pitch to Janet Reid. I watched her during several panels and the Pitch Slam prep and I have to say she is as funny and clever in person as she is in her blog. That being said she was also the most sought after agent in the room. Her line when I first saw it held way over thirty people. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a line that size equals at least ninety minutes. I took a gamble and decided to pitch a few other agents whose lines were shorter then get into Janet’s line. Sadly at four thirty when I went to get into her line it was closed (and so was t lines for half the other agents I wanted to talk to.) I am still wondering if I made the right decision, but I need to get over that and concentrate on the agents I did speak with.

I am happy to say that two agents of my five were interested enough in my pitch to request more material. The other three will obviously hate it when I’m on the NY Times bestsellers list.

My two incredibly insightful agents were Sandy Lu of the L. Perkins Agency and Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown.  Both requested a synopsis and my first fifty pages. I am happy that I went to the Writer’s Digest Editors Intensive and already have had an editor look at my first fifty pages. I feel confident that they are strongly written and hopefully will get the agents interested in more. The synopsis is another story.

I haven’t written a synopsis. Anyone thinking of going to the BEA Writer’s Convention or any other place that allows you to pitch agents listen up. They tell you to finish your manuscript before you start to query or pitch your work well I’m going to add one more to that. Finish your synopsis. I have spent all weekend working on my synopsis and it turns out, synopsis writing is a bitch.

Imagine writing a book report on your book. Doesn’t sound fun does it. Trust me it isn’t. The worst part is I feel like I am scrambling to get it done. I want to strike while the iron is hot. I want to get this synopsis and my first fifty into these agents email inbox as quickly as possible, before they forget who the hell I am (not that I am that sure they’ll remember anyway they had to have met a lot of writers that day).

So if you are querying or pitching bite the bullet and write that synopsis today, you’ll be glad you did.

Okay wasted enough time blogging, now back to the bloody book report.




Almost the most twisted.

I almost won a little online writing contest!

Well I did win, then I didn’t. I sort of cheated, I guess, on accident.

The contest was to write a story idea based on a prompt provided by Kari Lynn Dell on her blog .

The prompt was: 16 people are trying to get a job being a caretaker on a desert island mansion.

 I heard the bell ding as the light bulb lit up and I typed out a quick entry into the comment box (I did not take the time to transfer it into Word to get a word count, or even a spell or grammar check (Which would later turn out to be unfortunate).  I just wrote what I thought up and hit post. Here is my entry:

The sixteen applicants jumped off the boat and gathered on the beach looking at each other. They wondered what it would take to win this position, a chance to live on this island paradise. How would they prove themselves the best possible choice?
A man in an aloha shirt walks up to the group, laden with multicolored plastic beach toys; shovels, buckets, and sifters. He drops them into a pile at the center of the group without a word and climbs into the boat. As the boat backs out of the beach, he calls to the baffled crowd. “The guns are in the house.” Then with a laugh, “The bullets are in the sand.”

I didn’t think much of it. It was a fun idea, I ran with it. “What if” is my favorite part of writing, it is the easiest for me. “What if this or that” is how a story starts for me, starts are easy, finishing is hard. So I typed in my “what if” and carried on about my day.

Today I thought I would check back in and see who won. I had already read all the entries before me and while I liked mine, there were several others that I thought were just as good. I was surprised to find a post saying that I had won but had been disqualified because I went over the 75 word maximum.

Was I sad that I didn’t win? Hell no! I am bouncing off my seat happy. I feel really bad about the stir that I caused by going over the limit, many people wrote a lot of bad things about the contest because of the word count issue. I wish I had read the rules a little bit closer, I could’ve shaved forty words off my entry no problem (it probably would have made it better, the idea won, not the writing), but ultimately I know that I had a good idea and so does Kari. I still feel like a winner, and I got a little recognition for my work, to me that is way more valuable than any prize I could have won.

I would like to thank Kari for picking me and apologize for any grief anyone has given her over my entry. I truly am sorry, it was a great contest and a huge success in my book. An even better prize is Kari took the time to critique my query letter v1.0 . Check it out, I think she gave me some real gems.