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Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday's Muse~San Diego State Writers' Conference

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.

34 comments:

  1. Oh wow, that is so exciting! I'm so happy you had a great experience! I'll have to keep this conference in mind if I ever get the chance to go to one. Congratulations on the requests:)

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  2. Congrats, Heather--it sounds like it was an amazing experience! Good luck w/ the submissions. :)

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  3. Melissa, I know, I'm still reeling from it all! Definitely keep it at the top of your list of conferences to go to! Thanks for the congrats!

    Kristi, it really was! Thank you so muhc for the good luck!

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  4. Congrats on getting your requests! It sounds like a great conference. Someday I'll go to one myself...

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  5. Thank you Lydia! It was great, beyond great. If you can only go to one conference, this would be the one.

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  6. Oh wow! At most conferences the agents and editors wear invisible force fields that you can only enter if you're important.

    CONGRATS on all the requests, Heather. :D

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  7. OMG, Heather that sounds like a dream conference. I am so going to try and go next time! *squee* on all the requests too! How exciting!!!

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  8. You. Can. Do. It.
    I'm rooting for you:)

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  9. Stina, I know! This conference was like they had dropped the forcefield and wanted to talk to everyone. It was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Thanks!

    Lindsey, that would be excellent! I know you would love it and no doubt do excellent there. I'd love to meet up with you there next year!

    Candyland, I can't thank you enough for your confidence. It means the world to me. The. World. *wipes away tear*

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  10. That's wonderful news! Sounds like it was definitely worth your while.

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  11. Heather,

    That is so awesome! Congratulations. I am so happy for you.

    Good luck with your submissions. It sounds very promising.

    Michael

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  12. How exciting! Congrats!! I'll keep my fingers crossed for good news. I can't wait until the day I can say an agent requested my material!

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  13. Lisa, thank you! It was and then some!

    Michael, Thank you! You have to put that conference on your to do list for next year!

    Gina, thank you for the congrats and the finger crossing! Keep at it and you'll be celebrating an agent request in no time!

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  14. It sounds like it was a fantastic conference! And Yay *waves pom poms* congrats on all the requests! I'm SO excited for you! You must have been absolutely floating after those requests!

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  15. What a great conference it was--fingers crossed that dreams come true from it.

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  16. The conference sounds wonderful! Congratulations on the requests! Fingers crossed for you!! :)

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  17. Heather, Thank you for so much inspiration. You truly are amazing. I know wonderful things will come from this conference for you. It was relaxed. Fulfilling. Inspirational. Educational. I loved it!

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  18. Jamie, it was amazing. Thank you for the pom poms! Whoo hoo! I'm still floating in a cloud of disbelief. :)

    Linda, fingers crossed indeed! It will happen. Things are in motion, for all of us!

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  19. Melissa, thank you!

    Karlene, you're very welcome. And thank you, there are no words for how grateful I am for your support. San Diego was all those indeed!

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  20. Congrats! So exciting!

    I am attending a small local conference in March and I am getting to pitch and get a consultation. Can't wait!

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  21. The SD Writers Conference is awesome! Last year my CP won a conference award, had a request for a full, signed with an agent, the agent pitched, and my CP ended up with a three book deal by April 2. No kidding.

    Wishing the same for you!

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  22. Sounds like an awesome conference, and congratulations on those connections and requests. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

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  23. Way to go Heather! Sounds like you had a great time!

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  24. I envy you that conference experience, Heather. I hope that it brings a harvest of fruitful results for you, Roland

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  25. Alexia, thank you! Best of luck at your conference in March! My fingers will be crossed for you.

    VR, wow, I mean WOW! That is so encouraging! That would be wonderful if I have a story like that to tell about it soon! It's great to hear that others have had god experiences there.

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  26. Alissa, it really was something special. Thank you so much!

    Saba, thank you! I definitely did. :)

    Roland, I wish you could have gone! Thanks for the good wishes.

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  27. Okay, you know what I think about your experience. But I'm just popping in to say, YAY!!!!!!!! :D

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  28. Oh blogger, why must you eat my comments? I'll try again, and apologies if I'm duplicating!

    What a fantastic experience, and congratulations on the requests! That sounds so promising! We don't get many conference opportunities here in Australia, so I love reading about them on my friends' blogs!

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  29. Monica, thanks for cheering me on! You've been an awesome supporter through all this!

    Amie, bad blogger, no cookie! And thanks! It really does sound promising, and just when I needed it. I'm so sorry they don't hold more conferences in Australia! We need to fix that.

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  30. Heather,
    Some friends emailed me your blog. I'm so happy to hear that the conference was such a success for you. In my early years writing and attending events like this one, I had the same complaints about aloof faculty and barriers to really connecting with them. This nonproductive situation was one of the reasons I founded this conference in the beginning. To hear you describe exactly what I was trying to achieve is very satisfying. I do select the faculty for their interest in taking on new writers and projects and for having respect for the writers. Fortunately, the writers that frequent this conference tend to be serious and already well informed. That fact has also given the conference a great reputation and has made this event the one that agents and editors want to attend. So it all works together. Thanks so much for your kind words. Writers like you and your success stories make all the hardwork worthwhile.

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  31. I'm so honored that you stopped by Diane. Your conference is something special and not only will I be attending again in the future, I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about this business. Thank you for putting on such an amazing conference that is exactly what we need. I'm fairly certain I will not find its equal.

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  32. Heather,

    So glad you liked the SDSU Writers' Conference. Others did, too:

    http://www.sandiego.com/blogs/carrie-keyes/blog-blogger-thanks-san-diego

    http://karlenepetitt.blogspot.com/2011/01/san-diego.html

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  33. Thank you for the links Steve! It was fantastic and I'm not surprised that others had a great experience there too. I'll be sure to check them out.

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  34. Hi Heather,

    Newbie conference attendee, Shelley Miller, here. I could feel your enthusiasm through your writing. It sounds amazing and just what I needed to hear. I feel as nervous as a 6th grader before her first day of school. Are you attending this year?

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