Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Kind of Like a Job Interview, But Better

Last week I had posted that I would be attending my first literary agent meeting and writer’s conference on Saturday. It’s now Wednesday (I think… weren’t there like 4 Tuesdays shoved into this week already?) and I’ve had some time to obsess about my meeting and the conference and replay the meeting over and over in my mind.

I went to the conference with a high school friend, Michelle, who is also writing a book. Michelle just went to a big writer’s conference in San Francisco where she met with a half dozen or so agents. In the weeks leading up to the conference I annoyed the crap out of Michelle with ‘What are you wearing on Saturday?’ and ‘What should I bring? What should I prepare?’ questions. Then I changed my outfit at least three times before going to the event.

When I signed up I knew I wanted to meet an agent and submit my first page for critique. I wrote a query letter, submitted it, and was fixed up with an agent meeting at 10:10 in the morning. I also submitted my first page for the critique at the end of the day. And then I re-wrote the damn page right after I submitted it because that’s just how I roll.

I met Michelle in the morning and we got caught up, we went to see the keynote speaker and then went to a break out session on launching your book on the Internet. I kept a close eye on my watch, and at 10 left the session to use the ladies room and touch up my lipstick.

I went upstairs to find out where the meetings were being held and a man looked at my nametag “Oh, you’re BJ. Come with me.” He sat me down on the couch outside of the meeting room where I struck up a conversation with a woman writing a novel about squatters in New York City. Then the guy showed me into the room and I met “my” agent. (Well, not really MY agent, just the agent I had the appointment with. It’s shorter to call him “my” agent.)

I had researched this agent as much as I possibly could. I pasted relevant facts about him and his quotes from articles into a word doc, and studied it as I sat on the couch. I learned a bit about how he likes to be approached from one of his quotes and decided that I am going to treat the meeting kind of like a job interview. Lord knows I’ve been on enough of those, I am comfortable with job interviews. I calmed right down as I shook the agent’s hand.

He asked me about the book. I gave him my pitch, which I’d practiced in the car all morning, and he took notes and asked me more questions about the characters. Things like “What motivated Vince to do this, that and the other…” And we talked about the plot, and he filled the sheet on his little notepad. He asked me what my next book is about, and I just so happen to be writing another one long hand.

And then he asked me to send him my first 50 pages. And then the sun streamed through the window and the angels sang. And then I levitated out of my chair and went back to my break out session.

More later. This is getting kind of long.

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