Monday, March 27, 2006

Off to See the Wizard

I drove two hours south to Charlottesville, VA this past weekend to attend the Virginia Festival of the Book Publishing Day.

There were three seminars I attended. The first was called "From Manuscript to Cash Register" and the panel consisted of an agent, two editors and a bookseller. It was pretty interesting to find out what happens when a manuscript leaves my hands. I spoke to the agent after the event, and he gave me some good advice. "Don't use schtick in your query letter, and don't write it from the perspective of your main character. You laugh, but I get that a lot." I'd done research on him before the trip, and knew he didn't represent women's fiction or chick-lit, but got his card anyway. It came in handly, more on that later.

The second seminar was a wash, called Plotting Your Career. It was basically listening to three authors tout their books. They were entertaining, but had nothing to do with plotting my career.

The third seminar was by far the most educational and entertaining, as it was an Agent Roundtable. Four agents answered audience questions for nearly an hour, and they were all surprisingly witty. I got cards from all of them (one was the agent previously mentioned), and invitations from two to submit to them. One was a female agent who was interested in women's fiction, and the other was a male agent who didn't represent that genre, but volunteered to guide me to the right agent within his new agency.

All in all, it was a good thing to attend, and I learned a lot.

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