It may seem odd that a writers' conference was my muse last week but it was a special kind of conference. There are no expletives that can accurately express just how great this conference was for me. I've been to several different conferences and this is the first time I've had this type of experience.
The evening of our arrival we attended a no host cocktail mixer. I've been to these at other conferences before. Usually you stand around and chat with a few other writers and sip on your drink until you get bored and leave. Not at the San Diego State conference. Agents and editors (identifiable by the red lanyards they wore) wandered around and engaged people in conversation.
The next day I was shocked to discover that the consultations were ten minutes long. Anyone who has participated in a pitch slam (1-3 minutes of an agent's time) can appreciate just how precious and rare ten minutes is. The lectures were informative and engaging as well. Lunch was another opportunity to network like never before, with agents or editors at every table. Such was the atmosphere all weekend. If I didn't get to pitch to someone there was plenty of opportunity to find them at lunch, dinner, cocktails, or in lectures. They were always open to hearing about people's books.
At most conferences I've been to you are highly discouraged from approaching agents and editors outside of your pitch session. It was the opposite here. Of course pitching in the bathroom was still frowned upon (I can't imagine anywhere where it wouldn't be!) but it was encouraged and even initiated by the agents and editors everywhere else. I would absolutely recommend this conference to anyone who is serious about getting published. And oh yeah, I got a full request from a fabulous agent, two invitations from remarkable editors to send a partial, and a third request from an outstanding editor to contact her when I was ready.