Highlights from the 2011 WLT Conference

So a few highlights from the WLT Conference this past weekend:

Learning about the publishing industry can be painful and there is plenty of that pain to go around at a conference like this which is why I wrote down this little gem "There is always hope" - Susan Shulman talking about the fact that writers shouldn't get too discouraged by the daunting odds of publication.

"You have more power and control than ever" - Jane Friedman. Her keynote focused on new trends in e-books and digital publishing (and if you're trying to follow those trends, you absolutely must follow her blog). I enjoyed her optimism about the enduring power of story, no matter what medium it is delivered in, along with her honesty that no one knows where the digital revolution is headed. She left us with 5 Keys to Future Successful Authorship:
1. Build a direct line to your readership.
2. Partner with professionals (but do not rely on them).
3. Know what makes you remarkable.
4. Take risks. Fail.
5. Find your OWN way through the change.

I was happy that I was able to talk with an agent about my book without crawling in a hole.  I believe in my book and  I was able to talk about it fairly comfortably.  Last year it was harder. Practice makes perfect? Okay, not perfect, but better.  My one regret - I didn't go in with a list of questions to ask.  I was so worried about not screwing it up, I didn't think about what I really wanted to know from him. So there's a tip to those of you with an opportunity to talk to an agent or editor.

This year, the WLT conference did something new called First Pitch, Last Pitch that ended up being one of my favorite sessions.  Anyone who wanted to, could drop in a 250 word pitch to be anonymously critiqued by a panel of agents and we all got to listen in. I suspect the agents were more honest and direct in this format and it was so helpful. I wish they would have picked my pitch out of the box, but they didn't.

And I met so many cool and friendly fellow writers. Having already connected with a few writers on blogs and Twitter made it so much more fun to meet in person.  I'm hoping we'll stay in touch. Check out my list of writers I follow on Twitter if you're interested.

So how do I feel now that it's all over? Comparatively, I feel further along this year than last year - more ready to query, but I still feel that hesitation.  I'm  fried after spending the last 6 months in an intense cycle of revisions (and the busy season in my day job).  I feel as if all the major gaps in my novel are filled, but polishing remains to be done before sending my query out to the universe.  I am not feeling clear-headed enough right now to do that polishing.  So I'm going to give it a few more days or maybe a week before diving in again. Is it Friday yet?

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