Sunday, May 24, 2009

Conference notes . . .

Last week, I attended the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference in Estes Park, CO. It was the third one I've attended and I've noticed some patterns.

(Btw, I do recommend this conference. The beautiful setting and relaxed atmosphere make for a more personal experience than the others I've attended.)

The authors and organizers are the real friends of the pre-pubbed writers. They are selfless and eager to help the un-pubbed get pubbed.

On the other hand, the editors and agents put up walls. They are stand off-ish and seem to try their best to avoid everyone except their colleagues. It's hard not to blame them. They know everyone there wants something from them so it's a different relational dynamic. I'm sure there is a small percentage of pre-pubbed writers who have acted in a way to cause this jadedness, but I wish there was some way to reverse it. Even if you don't want to pitch to one of them, it's hard to have a conversation because they are so on guard. But most seem to enjoy it, albeit uncomfortably, and contribute valuable info.

But there is a couple of them don't even seem to enjoy it. I wonder why they are even there. They either don't take appointments are announce they are not looking for anything. They then sit on a panel or two and then go home. I guess a free trip they can write off is incentive enough. Then again, I don't really know what their motivation is.

The classes are good, but it's information that can be easily acquired in a few hours perusing the internet. I am always shocked by how much my fellow conferees don't know. Not all of them mind you, I don't want to insult anyone. Just enough to make me wonder.

The critiques are always great. Anytime you can have successful authors read your work and give you feedback is a good thing. Even if you don't agree with everything they say, they know what they're doing and can contribute something to the whole of your knowledge.


Nicole said...

My opinion is it benefits a pre-pubbed writer to have established an email conversation with a/some professional(s) before attending. This isn't always possible, particularly with agents. They can be too busy to respond to emails with conversational questions not related to specific ms. queries, etc. But then they can recognize your name when you have the opportunity to introduce yourself, possibly making them feel less threatened. Just a possibility.

And I'm sure there are many pros who are plenty uncomfortable with the process as are some writers. But those pre-pubbed writers who are pushy (and there are always those at conferences) and want to be sure they get their money's worth can ruin it for others and keep the pros on guard. JMO

Mike Duran said...

I've also been surprised by how unprepared some writers appear at conferences. It really does allow for some awkward moments and could explain the author / editor divide. And I'm wondering if you had a chance to speak to Jeff Gerke. He doesn't strike me as being very stand-offish.

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

That certainly would be a plus, Nicole. And, there are definitely some wierd push writers.


I agree totally, Mike. Although at this particular conference, I didn't see the level of unpreparedness I've seen at others.

Jeff Gerke was definitely a mingler. I didn't speak to him because I didn't want to use up his time. My manuscript probably wouldn't fit his needs.

Kay Day said...

So, Dayle, did you get anything out of the conference? Was it worth the time and money?

Are you glad you went?

Dayle James Arceneaux said...


In terms of getting my manuscript published, I'd have to say it's hard to quantify. One of my target agents asked for a full. And, I made a couple of contacts. We'll have to wait and see.

As an experience, I'd say it was definitely worth the money. For me personally, it was better than ACFW.