Conference while in query limbo...
(Or how to make the best of purgatory)
Ah, spring. Full of flowers, baby animals, and a writer’s hopes and dreams…
In March, I registered early for a major writing conference. At the time, I was querying one manuscript with bright-eyed excitement and hoped to have another finished before the conference in August.
Now, it’s late July, and while I currently still have fulls out on my finished MS, I’ve stopped querying it, and my WIP is not quite ready for primetime yet.
How do I make the best of the pitch session I registered for while in this limbo?
Should I keep pushing the finished manuscript because it’s done, this is a pitch session, and more potential requests on a finished MS are always better?
Or, is there a point in the querying process of one MS where it makes sense to move forward and try to use the opportunity to get feedback for the new work in case the current one doesn’t work out? ( I know we shouldn’t pitch an unfinished MS.)
Should I do both with different agents?
As always, thanks for helping us minnows navigate the waters.
The best choice is to ask the agent which one they want to hear about.
If they say either one, consider how much time you have.
I know some conferences have three-five minute slots for pitches.
That's barely enough time to say hello, let
For those short sessions, talk about your new work.
If you have longer, more than five minutes, you might use this to get eyeballs on the first pages of your ms. If you haven't had any bites, getting feedback might be very valuable. Bring actual printed out pages (double-spaced, single sided, TNR 12) with a paperclip not a staple.
Some agents may elect NOT to read; if that's the case, pitch the new ms.
If they do read, take notes on their comments.
Some big problems with pages can be the story starts too far along in the pages, tepid language and homonyms. If these are bedeviling your ms, it's good to find out.
If those aren't the problem, well you know it's something else.
And don't kick yourself for not meeting your schedule. Creativity doesn't follow a timeline.
The other alternative is just to chat with the agent and not pitch at all. Explain you are in limbo, and ask what kinds of things they're particularly on the hunt for. Ask what books they've read and loved recently.