Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Conference question: what to ask agents at pitch sessions

I will be attending a pitch session at a writers conference in a few weeks (although I do know how you feel about them!). There will be time during each pitch for back and forth between the agents and attendees. I want to ask intelligent questions during this time, and while I do have a few prepared (which differ by agent, to some degree), I wonder if you have any advice on this. I know you've blogged on what to ask during "the call," but found nothing about what to ask at this stage. I would assume an agent would do most of the asking during a pitch, but don't want to be caught unprepared.

Don't expect an agent to do most of the talking! My preferred strategy for  meeting writers is real life is not say any more than I have to, if that.

So, you'll give your pitch which will be short, concise, brief and to the point.
You will then STOP talking to allow the agent to ask whether the novel is finished,  the word count, and where you see it on the shelf.

If you're really smart you will not include that info in your pitch, because that way the agent can ask, and get the convo started.

Put it in the pitch and the agent is left with nothing to ask other than "So, how bout them Yankees?"

If you feel the conversation start dragging, here are some things you can ask:

1. What advice does the agent give her new clients?

2. Does the agent have books she recommends to all writers? (I have several)

3. Read any good books lately?

If you've got time, ask if she'll take a look at your query and see if anything jumps out that might be a problem.

Most of us are pretty good at making conversation with shy woodland creatures since most of our clients started out that way.

Try to ask about her interests, or for her advice. Try not to argue with her even if you think she's dead wrong.

I had a writer tell me I just didn't understand her book during a session at a writers conference here in NYC some years back. My former minion Meredith was there with me. Upon hearing that (followed closely by Mer's audible gasp of shock), I just sat back and let the writer talk for the rest of the allotted time. When time was up I said thanks, and have a great day.

It was so odd...this woman had come hundreds of miles, spent oodles of dough, and then basically said she didn't have anything to learn from the very people who were there to help her. Mer and I were under the table we were laughing so hard...but it was really awful at the time.

Don't be that writer, ok?


Amy Schaefer said...

There are days I think it would be very entertaining to be a literary agent, or at least a specter at one's shoulder. The things you see, I swear. I would have character sketches to last me a thousand books.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

In a former job it was my duty (in part) to point out shortcomings. The folks who nodded, smiled, said thank you, and smiled me out the door, were the ones I liked best. They were the learners, the ones who made my job and theirs easier. The arguers, the ones who had to defend there positions to death, did'nt go far. Was I right all the time, no, but that didn't matter because I was gone. I was simply doing my job.
BTW I always showed up with coffee and donuts or I paid for lunch. Sometimes I was in awe of ability and execution.
I hated that job even more than the one I have now.

Anonymous said...

...she muttered vengefully.

Bad luck, 2NNs :D

Anonymous said...

A scream pierced the air, high and sharp. Cats scrabbled in shock and darted for cover.

Amy pitched face-first onto the desk amidst clutter and cat-hair.

"Now who's number one?" smirked Carolynn...

Anonymous said...

On topic, though- yeah, don't be that writer. Mea culpa here to say that I love to be right and try very hard not to be in the wrong. I literally have to force myself not to speak sometimes (VERY hard when reviews come in, let me tell ya). What's the good of coming to hear wisdom from lovely people like QOTKU and then refusing to hear it cos you don't like it?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

W.R. Gingell, hahahaha. 2NNs wrings hand, laughs quietly. The body under the desk makes a good footrest.

The best advice a writer can get is the shitty advice. The good, we already know, the bad, we sense it, the ugly? Change that and your Eli Wallach looks like (a young) Clint Eastwood.

This is where I would insert a link to the Spaghetti Western if I knew how. But because I haven't a clue how, imagine.....

Anonymous said...

Oh, ALLOW ME! I insist!

I love me some spaghetti western when Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer are involved :D

Anonymous said...

It's not Clint Eastwood, it's BETTER :D Only now I wanna watch 'My Name is Nobody' again, and I'm right in the middle of 'The A-Team' O.o

So much to watch, so little time!

More on topic- yeah, the more I learn, the more I catch the bad advice before I follow it. It really helps that I've had places like this blog and the Absolute Write Water Cooler to test things again (along with a few of my own mistakes, of course!)

So thanks, Janet :) You've helped me dodge a couple bullets out there in the wild and woolley world of querying and publishing. It ain't no spaghetti western, but it's rough on the frontier.

Kitty said...

Bo tells Chili Palmer how to write a movie script

CHILI: You know how to write one of these?

BO CATLETT: There's nothin' to know. You have an idea, you write down what you wanna say. Then you get somebody to add in the commas and shit where they belong, if you aren't positive yourself. Maybe fix up the spelling where you have some tricky words . . . although I've seen scripts where I know words weren't spelled right and there was hardly any commas in it at all. So I don't think it's too important. Anyway, you come to the last page you write in 'Fade out' and that's the end, you're done.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Excellent scenario question. As always great advice. Withhold info, create suspense.

I had a teacher at Art College who said a bad work is impossbile to critique, there aren't words worth saying. So hopefully if you withold the wordcount, OP, you'll have curious questions flying your way.

WR, I have the opposite problem. People often interrupt me when I speak and I easily lose track of what I'm saying. I hate yelling so just let them plow through and over. You learn so much by listening. I must have one of those faces where people feel they can confide or maybe it's just because I'm quiet most of the time.

I'd add to Janet's list to quell the ringing in your ears after your session is finished and listen without judgement to the agent critique others.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

The video clip didn't work for me ce "video n'est pas disponible" was the message. Maybe the Shark planned that as subtle commentary.

I'd love to know what list of books QOTKU suggests, maybe I'll get to the WD conference next year and swim through NYC's aromatic August broth.

Carolynn, I'd love to hear some stories about your former employment. The footrest under the table. LOL Did they give you a nickname?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I wonder if Amy knows we killed her off yet?

Unknown said...

Do not be that person. If you truly believe this agent doesn't get your book, then believe she's not the agent for you. Listen politely (you might learn something) and move on.

Arguing with an experienced anyone is just plain silly. Discussion? Sure. Questions? By all means. But when you only have a few minutes, I don't think it should be spent trying to convince the agent. Pitch it, and if the agent's face doesn't light up...move on.

Scrambled3ggs said...

Admittedly I'm very new at this. Note the goo dripping from me as I crawl out of the "I'm Going to Write the Next Great American Novel" clone vat.

To draw a parallel to my days back in the corporate world, during a job interview, it was always good considered good form for the interviewee, to ask the interviewer questions.

Two of the many prepared questions I always asked, the first always going over well and the second, when it didn't, at least showed I wasn't afraid to ask the hard questions, were:

"I know why I want to work for your company. Can you tell me why you think I would like to?"


"If I do come here, what will I like least about working here?"

It was kind of fun watching the reaction of some who were caught completely off guard by the second one. Ahh ... fun times.

So, would it be a faux pas to "interview" the agent and ask something along the lines of "If you like my book and are willing to represent me, what will and won't I like about working with you?"

Even if it is a breach of etiquette, I'm sure someone sooner or later will do it not knowing any better.

Like, err, me.

Dena Pawling said...

Several months ago I pitched an agent who spoke at my local RWA meeting. We each had 10 minutes of her time after the meeting. I was first ACK!

She repped romance but not women's fiction, so I figured it would be good practice but I didn't have to get all stressed out over it. I made my pitch and thanked her for listening because it was my first time. She asked for the word count and whether it was my first novel. I answered her questions and then asked if she had any specific advice. She gave me some recommendations on improving the pitch, and also told me what was good about it.

She was very nice and I learned something. I'm glad I did it. Good luck at the conference!

Janet Reid said...

"If you like my book and are willing to represent me, what will and won't I like about working with you?"

Asking a question like that of a person is HR is one thing. Asking that of an agent is another.

If you asked me this question, I'd laugh it off, but I'd also think you were getting so far ahead of yourself that working with YOU would be a constant battle.

"Are we there yet? Now? Now?"

Anonymous said...

I think I could go to a conference a week for the rest of my life and still not see anything more memorable than the blonde nitwit in Surrey who lit into QOTKU with both feet for making a joke. "Who are you? I don't even know who you are? Why are you even talking and making jokes?"

I'm still irked the mod didn't tell her to stop being an ass and get down on bended knee as is proper when addressing the queen.

I hate pitch sessions.

Here's my perfect pitch session.

"Hey, QOTKU. My name is Julie Weathers."

shake hands

"Hi, Julie, I'm QOTKU."

"I'm not really pitching anything. I hope you don't mind. I figured you could use a break. I brought coffee."

"I noticed you're from NY. Is it nice there, this time of year?"

"I like cats. Do you like cats?"

"I read your client so and so's book. Love Emma Lou, but that ending was a shocker. Wow. Have you read any books recently you recommend?"

"Well, here's a drink coupon for the bar. Have one on me later. A bunch of us are piling up in the lobby with gourmet cupcakes tonight. Stop by if you'd like and visit or just grab one to go. Hope you have a great conference."

And QOTKU would be waving her hand madly, "Security! Security!"

Of course said agent would probably be irritated as they might have been able to slip away for a few minutes instead of trying to act pleasant.

At Surrey I booked a session with a lady poet although I write fiction. She was surprised and asked me how she could help me.

"Well, I don't write poetry seriously, but I am a wordsmith and you have a lovely way with words. I was hoping you could teach me a bit about how you choose words."

She beamed and we had a lovely session that neither of us wanted to end.

Conferences are magical places. It's too bad some people are so wrapped in the shroud of me that they miss the magic.

Anonymous said...

Julie, if I was an agent, I'd want to meet you at a pitch session whether or not you were pitching. Specially if you were bringing cupcakes and drinks :D

DLM said...

Julie is, FOR DUH, a genius. That is my kind of conversation with a professional, never mind pitch sessions alone.

I have a problem in that I enjoy pitch sessions but have never been to a conference that was histfic-specific, and therefore really have never had the opportunity to face-to-face with any agent who'd be a super tight match for what I write. The James River Writers conference I attend every year is genre encompassing, which makes it immensely energizing and inspiring - and that is what I go for, as well as the community I already love and the new faces I want to get to know - but as a launch pad it's pretty much a non-starter for the likes of my works. So I pitch every dang year, but I just enjoy the conversation, enjoy getting a look into this agency or that, hearing what interests certain people. I was privileged to meet Victoria Skurnick year before last, and just sitting at a table between-times with her and a few others, discussing cello music and witnessing the luminous FIRE in her was so joyous just thinking about it now makes me smile. She read me, but she doesn't do my genre either, and her rejection was quick, non-specific, and kind. I was going to interview her on my blog - she accepted with alacrity - but we didn't get past the questions, I didn't nudge her to death, and my cultivation of my blog as a place for agent interviews has not been superlative. (And every year, I decide again I'm going to change that.) Same thing happened with Elizabeth Chadwick, whom I got to know at Historical Fiction online, and whom I wanted to pester only so much.

Anyway, pitches for me are just enjoyable encounters; it's been YEARS since I thought "this is my opportunity!!!!". So I think I end up doing it pretty well, because at the end of the day any conversation at any conference is best when it's between two people who are interested and interesting.

I've also done Pitchapalooza twice (my first time I was the very first to go; aieee), but that was enough. I love David Henry Sterry and Ariel Ekstut (and their daughter is adorable and neato), but two people less interested in the kind of writing I do would be hard to find, and so their critiques are a rotten fit. It was an exciting thing to do, I've done it, NEXT.

Oh dear lord, what a lot of vomment. I made a bigger mess than Scrambled3ggs by far.

And not a point anywhere to be seen ...

Scrambled3ggs said...

Asking a question like that of a person is HR is one thing. Asking that of an agent is another.

If you asked me this question, I'd laugh it off, but I'd also think you were getting so far ahead of yourself that working with YOU would be a constant battle.

Noted. Thanks!

DLM said...

You know - thinking about that conversation with Victoria Skurnick ... I do believe that when I asked her for an interview, she all but bared her teeth in an enthusiastic smile and said, "The word interview is like chum to a shark!"

More reason to smile.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Nobody? Okay, I'll bite.

What books do you recommend to all writers? I've got the library at my fingertips and would love to know! (or maybe you previously answered and I just disremember the post. Whichever).

Colin Smith said...

Well done, Amy, for winning First Comment of the Day! :)

The court doesn't need me today, to I can offer a few vomments, though I'm not sure I have much to offer since I've never been to a writing conference. I'd like to, and hope to someday soon.

Given my small talk and cold conversation (i.e., engaging someone I don't know) skills *ahem* I'm sure I would leave agents with plenty to talk about at a pitch session. Unless it was QOTKU, where she could ask about my kids, our car, Sam the Cat, or a number of things that have come up on the blog to get conversation going. Which makes me reflect on how useful (I shy from saying "important", but that might be appropriate) it can be for agents and writers to engage informally on social media.

However, I really wonder at the value of a pitch critique. Okay, maybe if you are pitching to 5 agents, I could see getting helpful pointers from the first on how to make it better for the following 4. But it seems to me, as Janet said, a query critique would be a lot more effective. You may be pitching to 4 or 5 agents, but you'll be querying 50-100 agents. How good your pitch is might make a difference that day at the conference. How good your query is will make a difference for weeks, months, maybe longer.

My dream conference: The Shark Tank Conference. Keynote Speaker: QOTKU. Attendees: All you guys. That would be SUCH a blast. If I had the money, I'd pay travel expenses for our non-US friends to be there. We could have a "camp-fire" night, where we gather round and listen to Julie W. and TLC tell stories. And perhaps even a writing contest. Of course a writing contest. How could it be a Shark Tank Conference and NOT have a writing contest?

OK, I'm daydreaming now... back to work! :)

Colin Smith said...

Oh... and Barbara Poelle would have to be there. And Janet's clients--maybe a few of them could host writing workshops?

*slap* BACK TO WORK!!

Panda in Chief said...

Did someone say something about cupcakes?

DLM said...

Colin, can Gossie come? I might never be able to go home again, for fear of my life, if he knew I'd met Janet and all the Reiders and not taken him for his due scritches. HE would definitely be glad to run a workshop. And Penelope (the Publishing Pup) could be a greeter. She loves a good greeting.

Colin Smith said...

Diane: Omitting Gossie would be like omitting a writing contest. Of course Gossamer the Editor Cat MUST be there! :) And Penelope... though hopefully she's not too enthusiastic a greeter... :)

Donnaeve said...

First, I admire (immensely) anyone who can get their brain and mouth engaged at the right moment, in front of an agent and pitch their book.

This reminds me of standing in front of over a hundred folks at Cotillion a couple years ago - and even though I had notes as to what I was supposed to say to kick off the evening - I didn't have my wits about me to LOOK at them. This is how I'd view pitching - i.e. over 100 people gaping at you, waiting for you to speak = pitching to ONE agent.



Seconds later..., post pitch. WHAT DID I JUST SAY? OH SHIT. I DIDN'T ASK MY QUESTIONS!

Yeah. I admire you "guyz."

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin, I'll bring the marshmallows.

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: Yes! We'll have to make S'mores, especially for our UK friends. That's STILL the #1 post on my blog, you know--the one about alternatives to Graham Crackers in the UK.

LynnRodz said...

Great advice, Janet, but I got sidetracked by a young Clint Eastwood. Mmm! Or wait, was it the cupcakes? I'll have one...ah, maybe two.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Speaking of number 1 posts.
I'd love to know the Q' s number 1 and how many comments. Colin, do you think she'd tell us? I'm whispering just in case she's listening.

Anonymous said...

I've probably said this before, but I suppose it bears repeating.

Publishing is a business. A pitch session is like a job interview. If you act like that in a job interview, you'll never get a job.

I usually give my 'elevator pitch' first at a pitch session. It's short and to the point. At which point, the agent usually says, "Tell me more."

That's where I always had the most problems. I'd get up my nerve to do the elevator pitch, and then... I had nothing.

I got better though. Last year, I thought: You know, I've been entering all these Twitter pitch sessions and I've got a darned good query. Why don't I put some of that into the 'Tell me more' segment? I've written those things to entice agents, and they've worked.

So last year, at my pitch sessions, when I got told, 'Tell me more', I started with one of my Twitter pitches. In both sessions, I may have wound up chatting too much, but I think that's better than the wide-eyed woodland creature "Oh. I have to say more?" I was asked to send in a partial to the first, and got some lovely feedback from the second. All in all, a good year.

I get chatty. Not that you've noticed. :P

(No, I would never ask an agent why I wouldn't want to work with her, although I'll write that down for my next job interview. In a job interview, you've got maybe half an hour. In a pitch session, 10 minutes. In that 10 minutes, it's all about the book. Unless the agent or editor says, right off the top, "Send me your partial/full" and then starts asking you questions that had nothing to do with publishing. Yes, that's happened, and it's actually a relief when it does.)

When a friend at a conference says they're not doing any pitch sessions because they've got nothing to pitch, I encourage them to just go and ask questions. Meet the agent. Say 'hi' - see that agents won't bite. LEARN. It's an incredible learning opportunity. You have an industry professional committed to you for 10 minutes. Tell them your novel isn't complete, then use that ten minutes to ask them the questions you've always wondered: Is it really hard to break into my genre? What do you think of sex in YA? What time is Happy Hour at your office and your favourite Happy Hour drink? If I'm in NYC (or whatever their home city is) can I buy you a drink?

Julie: I doubt you could ever get an agent irritated with you. You and QOTKU would spend that 10 minutes chatting about lady bronc riders or cats, and then would probably meet in the bar afterwards to continue the conversation.

kaitlyn sage said...

Ugh, I sometimes have nightmares about my first agent encounter at a conference. I ran into an agent whose blog I REALLY admire (not, thank all the gods, the illustrious QOTKU) at the cocktail party and managed to put my foot so far down my throat I was farting toes for days. (That's gross, isn't it? It is. And it doesn't even begin to cover my embarrassment.)

Said agent was chatting with some folks and when I introduced myself and expressed my admiration for the agent's blog and clients, it became mortifyingly clear that the agent was not super pleased with said client at that moment and DID NOT WANT TO TALK TO ME. AT. ALL.

So there I stood in awkward silence for a full minute before backing away and finding the bottom of a glass (or two) of wine with my writer buds.

I definitely could have handled that more smoothly. Next time!

Colin Smith said...

"and managed to put my foot so far down my throat I was farting toes for days"--LOL! That's a classic, kaitlyn, right up there with Julie's "common sense" quote from... last week? :)

Lord willing I'll get to experience my first agent meet in October, since both QOTKU and Jessica Faust will be at Bouchercon. I really don't know what to expect of me. Either super dorky or super quiet. But I'm old enough now to resolve that I'll just be, and let everyone else be, and what happens happens. :)

bass said...

I'll bite, Janet -- what books do you recommend to all writers? Aside from your clients', of course! ^^

kaitlyn sage said...

Good luck, Colin. Your charm oozes out of every pixel of your comments. I'm sure you'll have better luck than I did!

DLM said...

Kaitlyn, the thing is - YOU behaved correctly. How could a woodland creature know the relationship issues!??? Personally, I think it was unspeakably rude of an agent to give YOU the cold shoulder for a perfectly good conversational gambit. Okay, she's got a problem with that client. How is this *your* fault and by what right do you deserve to be punished for that?

Approaching an agent to tell them you love one of their authors is hardly a faux pas. You were in the right and that agent sounds like she was an ass to you for the sin of not knowing her little conflicts. Small wonder she has them.

Colin, she's a pretty enthusiastic greeter. But she doesn't pee in submissive-hello anymore. So that's good, right? Also: GO YOU!

Anonymous said...

Today is Ernest Hemingway's birthday. I'm currently reading Ernest Hemingway The Short Stories--The First Forty-Nine Stories With A Brief Preface By The Author and THE TRUE GEN--An Intimate Portrait Of Hemingway By Those Who Knew Him

His Nobel acceptance speech.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

You wanna know about enthusiastic greeters...Elka was never a submissive pee-er, thank God, but one of these days I'll film her joy-dance of greeting and share it with you fine folks. She is quite bouncy and bendy!

Donnaeve said...

Kaitlyn, definitely on the side of you did right, and agent did wrong. Maybe it was just bad timing and the agent's ability to make you feel she wasn't in the mood to be charmed is because she was still in the throes of her peevishness over the client.

Who knows, but like another writer said out here once at the end of her FF submission.


W.R. - I SNORT laughed at your "I love me some spaghetti westerns."

Colin Smith said...

kaitlyn: Awww... thank you! That's very kind of you to say. The South will make a gentleman of me yet. ;)

Anonymous said...


It's hardly your fault the agent and client are on the outs.

I've pitched to editors, yes, I know now you shouldn't, but didn't then, and it was pretty painless. The Tor editor asked to see the pages in the folder I was carrying. Asked me a few questions and requested, but I think they request from everyone. We spent the rest of the time talking about marketing, Celtic women warriors, Celtic burial mounds, Sarmatian horse hoof armor, light cavalry military tactics against the Roman army, etc. that are all incorporated into my story.

With the Del Rey editor, she had read the first 30 pages for a workshop and requested, so we just shot the bull, thankfully. I froze when I started to pitch and she simply asked a few questions about it and said that's fine, she wanted it.

I don't like pitching. I could pitch the bronc rider story or the Civil War story easily, but the fantasy bumfuzzles me.

"You and QOTKU would spend that 10 minutes chatting about lady bronc riders or cats, and then would probably meet in the bar afterwards to continue the conversation."

If I booked a pitch session with her it would be to shower her with cleverly disguised travel size bottles of Scotch and shoot the bull. Perhaps ask her if I could take her to dinner or breakfast if she had some free time.

I hesitate to impose on agents at conferences because I know that's when they catch up with other professionals and their clients.

Colin Smith said...

kaitlyn: I meant to add that I agree--that was an unreasonable reaction from that agent. Maybe the agent was having a bad day, or the controversy with the client was a fresh open wound, but nevertheless, one needs to stay professional. And I would hope most agents would recognize a nervous woodland creature and extend a bit of grace. I'm counting on that, anyway. :)

Julie: "I hesitate to impose on agents at conferences because I know that's when they catch up with other professionals and their clients."

I hate to put my feeble mumblings into the mighty jaws of our Sharkey host, but I can't help thinking she would tell you: "Your time is not more important than mine. And as much as I need to catch up with clients, colleagues, and industry contacts, YOU need to make contacts, forge relationships, and make good positive impressions. That involves 'imposing' on agents, even for a few minutes of chit-chat."

As I said, I've never been to a conference, never spoken face-to-face with an agent, and am hardly the king of eloquence. But based on things QOTKU has said, I think she would want you to get the most out of the conference in terms of your own career. And that might involve snagging an agent's shoulder and bugging him/her for a few moments of small talk. And since it's YOU, regale them with a story and they'll never forget you (in a good way). :)

kaitlyn sage said...

To be fair to said agent, I probably could have managed to be a *LITTLE* less awkward and rescued the conversation had I not been so star-struck and promptly embarrassed. I'll get 'em next time!

"We spent the rest of the time talking about marketing, Celtic women warriors, Celtic burial mounds, Sarmatian horse hoof armor, light cavalry military tactics against the Roman army, etc. that are all incorporated into my story."

Um, Julie, I think you and I should talk. These are things that I hold very near and dear to my heart.

Christina Seine said...

Janet, thank you very much for answering my question! I swear, sometimes you can read our minds. We talked about this quite a bit at our writers group meeting last week (where we are practicing our pitches, eek!), and I wondered if it wouldn't be better to just skip the gory details like word count and such and go straight to the pitch, but didn't want to come across like a total N3WB. (Yes I am surrounded by nerdy home schooled kids all day, why do you ask?).

I am going to write these questions down and put them in my little Writers Conference Notebook (squee!). Then I am going to run out and buy that adorable shark liquor/chocolate holder. Like many of us, I am a total introvert, and generally hide behind a book at most social gatherings. Get a drink or two in me, though, and my alter ego comes out. I don't dance on tables wearing lampshades or anything, but man I can talk your ear off. I guess it's all those pent up comments I never make. Which calls to mind Julie W's comment from not too long ago about the best parenting advice she ever got was to shut the heck up. (Julie, if you ever write a book called HOW TO GROW UP RIGHT - A BOOK FOR ADULTS, I swear I'll buy the first ten copies. You possess a wisdom rarely seen in this day and age.)

Rest assured, I would never, ever be that writer who'd have the gall to argue with an agent at a pitch session. I witness something like that in a group pitch session once and it was awkward and horrible for everyone there. it is burned in my mind forever. =(

I hope if any other woodland creatures are going to NYC we can meet up at the bar or something. I'll be the one with fish scales all over her arms. Those little suckers stick like superglue on tissue paper. Either that, or I am turning into a dragon.

Thanks again, Janet!

Christina Seine said...

And Kaitlyn, I totally agree. It was that agent who acted badly, not you.

Colin, sign me up for that conference right now!!!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Farting toes, I love it.
Colin, when you see the Queen and Jessica, I'll be right there beside you, not for support, I'll be blowing in your ear to distract you.

nightsmusic said...

Would you be opposed to a 30 second vulcan mind meld so I could lift the information? You wouldn't have to say much, if anything that way...

Amy Schaefer said...

I can't believe it. A person can't even get a good night's sleep around this place without getting murdered for being first commenter. The cat hair is making my allergies act up, and 2Ns keeps massaging her corns on my spine.

Oh well. Someone pass me a notebook; at least I can get a little writing done under here.

Christina Seine said...

Amy, if you're super good, Carkoon has a work release program. To apply, send me all the cupcakes. I'll pass them right along to Janet, I swear.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: Where do I apply for your vacant position at FPLM-Paradise? :)

Colin Smith said...

Julie: It sounds like you've had a blast, and you're doing everything right in terms of social interaction. In fact, it sounds like you're really rather good at this talking-to-people thing. If you didn't tell such good stories, I'd question whether you're really a writer...! ;)

Donnaeve said...

Amy, ha! Good one.

Uh oh. Wait. I see dead people.

Unknown said...

"Janet and all the Reiders"

LOVE that.

Colin Smith said...

Diane: Thankfully I don't do that anymore, either. :D

Donnaeve said...

Colin, I'm glad you cleared that up. :P

Carlis said...

I'm also attending NYC Writers Digest conference.

Can I say I come from Bolivia as chit chat? or the agent doesn't care?

After the conference, I will be touring a couple of US cities for 10 days more. If an agent requests a partial/manuscript. Can I boldly ask "Would it be ok for you to wait for 10 days until I arrive home?" Or I should just shut up and send the manuscript when I arrive home.


Amy Schaefer said...

Colin, you can pry Paradise out of my cold, dead zombie hands. And then I'll eat your brains and take it back.

Christina, cupcake-based bribery is overrated. The goods are always stale by the time they reach their destination. Perhaps you would be interested in a selection of coconuts?

Christina Seine said...

I would, if they arrived in the form of macaroons. ;)

Donnaeve said...

Christina, you've been in Alaska too long. Macaroons don't grow on trees.

Anonymous said...


I'm sure the agent will find it fascinating you're from Bolivia. Also, there's no time line on submitting material. Well, six years might be a bit long.


angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Carlis, lucky you going to the Writers Digest conference.

Meeting agents and industry professionals must bring on a strain of Stendhal Syndrome.

Colin, your ideal conference sounds like a party on Lake Heron.

Anonymous said...


"Which calls to mind Julie W's comment from not too long ago about the best parenting advice she ever got was to shut the heck up. (Julie, if you ever write a book called HOW TO GROW UP RIGHT - A BOOK FOR ADULTS, I swear I'll buy the first ten copies. You possess a wisdom rarely seen in this day and age.)"

I've said that and do. Never miss a good opportunity to shut up was originally quoted by Will Rogers I think. Another of the minions here used it and it was a subheader though.

Hate to take credit where it isn't due.

Colin, I'm kind of like Kaylee on Firefly. I like people. They've all got interesting stories. I'm usually pretty good at getting people to talk because I am interested in them.

A few owners refused to talk to me because they just started spilling their guts in interviews and were afraid I'd make them look foolish. I'd always say, "Now Mr. Smith, you know my job is to make you look good. You just stop worrying so much."

I'd switch the conversation back to the last place they were happy and off we'd go again.

One guy just wouldn't though. He stopped talking to me. Left orders with his trainer to do all the interviews. Said he couldn't help himself when he was talking to me and was afraid he'd make a fool of himself.

People love it when someone really listens to them. It makes them feel important, like they matter. You should always make people feel like they matter. Unless they're rude. Then you should educate them.

Christina Seine said...

Blogger Donnaeve said...
Christina, you've been in Alaska too long. Macaroons don't grow on trees

What? Not even in paradise? Well they should, then. Maybe Janet could take that up with the COTKU (Creator of the Known Universe) for us. Also, if macaroons are going to grow on trees, can they please be made nonfattening please?

This is the best group. Writers are the only kind of crazy that makes any sense.

Carlis! Bolivia is SO interesting! Let's find each other at the conference and hog all the macaroons and sit next to each other at Janet's workshop!

Colin Smith said...

Julie: And there you touch upon one of my most distressing personal dilemmas: I love people; I just can't talk to them--at least cold. One of the people on jury duty is English. I know because I heard him talk. (I'm a writer--I might not say much, but I'm listening and watching all the time!) You'd think I'd be all over him: "Where in the UK are you from? Oh I'm from..." etc. etc. No. I just sit and wonder. And yet, if I was asked to stand in front of all the jurors and talk about myself? Sure! No problem. :)

Colin Smith said...

Oh, and I was using "talk about myself" as an example of speaking on a subject that I know well. I don't mean to imply I'm self-absorbed. Hardly! :)

DLM said...

Carlis, as Julie says, you're not on deadline. But to enthuse about your travels might just make interesting conversation, particularly if your journey in the States relates with your writing.

Julie, my mom once described a remarkable, charming, and intelligent friend of mine as "interested and interesting." I've found that balancing these things in life is a pretty comfortable - and smart - way to get through it. You clearly have an instinct for this! And I suspect mamma would dig your chili; you and she have strong senses of humor and I have to believe your laugh is as good as hers is. My mamma can LAUGH.

DLM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DLM said...

Oh, and: Amanda, thank you! It's what I call this community when I mention "us" on my blog.

Colin: GOOD BOY!

(Yeah, man - nothing says Southern Gentleman like not peein' on the floor ...)