At a writers conference, there are two ways to connect with editors and agents:
- Sign up for 15 minute appointments with an editor or agent for the chance to pitch your book. (And hope you get appointments with the editors and agents you really want to talk with.)
- During lunch and dinner sessions, sit at the table where the editor or agent you're hoping to connect with is hosting. Usually, as the table host, the editor or agent will take a few minutes to talk with everyone sitting at the table, often asking about their writing.
Now, sit back and let me share a story with you--and yes, there's a moral to the story.
Several years ago, I attended the Jerry B. Jenkins Writing for the Soul
conference. At dinner one night, my friend Scoti and I sat at an agent's table because Scoti wanted to talk with her. The table was full and this agent invited everyone to take a few minutes to either ask her a question or pitch their book idea.
She let the person on her left go first, which meant Scoti and I were some of the last people to talk. When it was my turn, I pitched the book idea I was working on at the time--more for practice, as I already had my agent sending the proposal out. It was titled Blindsided, and the focus of the book was to help moms understand how to help their sons when they get tripped up by pornography.
After I pitched my book, I turned to the writer next to me so I could listen to his pitch. He started off by saying, "My book deals with discipleship, an important issue that's vital to teen boys' spiritual growth, unlike the book you just heard about."
Yes--the writer dissed my book in an attempt to pitch his and make it look important.
I was stunned. Scoti was stunned. And, by the look on the agent's face, she was put off by his approach of pitching his book by putting mine down.
I promised you a moral to the story, so here it is: When you're pitching your book, there's no need to denigrate another writer's book idea. Be passionate about your book idea--but don't attack another writer's manuscript in an attempt to make your idea look better. As a professional, you want to conduct yourself in a professional manner--and that means considering your words and your actions.
In Your Words: Have you ever had another writer speak negatively about your writing project? How did you handle it? I'd love to hear your words of wisdom.
Labels: character, conduct, encouraging other writers, writers conferences