Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wild Ride in NYC!!!

OK, got the partials and full out over the last couple of days. Now, let me catch you up on my wild ride in NYC!

First up was BEA - Book Expo of America. Last Wednesday was the Writer's Digest Conference portion of the 5-day conference. The day started with a talk by Karin Slaughter, crime writer. My BEA buddy Judith and I decided she's the Ellen Degeneres of the publishing world. Every sentence out of her mouth was funny. Here's a pic of me, Karin, and Judith:

She told how she owned a signage company and decided to go for her real passion, writing. She was an overnight success ten years in the making. It took her that long to secure an agent, but once she did, she's been publishing books ever since.

After that, Judith, and I attended several workshops including How to Build Characters, an Ask the Agents Panel featuring the hilarious Janet Reid, Barbara Poelle, Ted Weinstein and Michelle Andelman, and finally a Polish Your Pitch Session, which geared you up for the big event... the PITCH SLAM! Pitch Slam is like Speed Dating for authors and agents. You've got three minutes to pitch your book (yup, they time you, although some agents didn't pay much attention, which was nice). The agent then either passes or asks for sample pages. I pitched to six agents and all six asked for pages - five partials ranging from 10 - 50 pages and a full. The first five I pitched to all asked for sample pages, and I almost quit while I was ahead. Thankfully, I didn't, because I LOVED the last agent and she's the one who asked for the full! Like I said, that day was right up there with the day I got married, the days my kids were born, and all the times I performed live with my band. It was that good.;-)

The next day, the Backspace Conference began with an Agent/Author day. I was in a room with 29 other writers. We stayed in our seats while different groups of agents rotated through. We were supposed to have had the opportunity to read our query and first two pages to at least two groups. Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way, and instead we only got to read to one group each. I was lucky, because the group I read my first two pages to included the agent who'd asked me for my full the previous day. Thank goodness she liked my first two pages, or that may have ended her request for my full! A lot of writers were unhappy with the way the day went, mainly due to the inability to get much feedback. I'm sure Backspace will correct this in the future.

The next two days were filled with fabulous workshops. I attended a Buy this Book! session led by agent Jeff Kleinman, where we took on the roles of Marketing Manager, Editor, Publicity, etc. and got a real sense of how editors pitch our books to the publishing houses. It was fascinating. I learned that you need a platform for both non-fiction and fiction, it's important to secure book reviews by known authors, and that you've really got to have an enthusiastic editor pitching your book. Additional workshops included a panel on the Agent/Author Relationship where two agents with two of their clients talked about what that relationship is like, Query Letters that Work gave helpful tips such as personalizing your query, doing your research, putting title, genre and word count up front, etc. Some additional workshops I attended included What Literary Agents Want or Why It's So Hard to Find Representation, Getting Your Book Reviewed, and Yes, No, Maybe - When Agents Ask for Revisions. On Friday night, they had a cocktail party and famous thriller writers Lee Childs and David Morrell were in attendance. (David Morrell won a Backspace Award, and also participated in a panel on Saturday and was the closing keynote speaker.) The most important part of my Backspace experience was finally meeting my new BFF Julie from Columbus, Ohio in person! She's an extremely talented commercial fiction and YA writer. Here we are all dressed up for the party.

Overall, both conferences were extremely worthwhile. I'd highly recommend them to all serious writers with a completed ms in search of an agent. Just beware, your stomach will not thank you! Mine was in knots most of the time, but I figured that was simply proof that I was throwing my hat in the ring and playing full-out. After all, ain't that what life's about?

After the conferences, Chuck met me in NYC for an extended weekend. On Saturday night, we met up with my friend, Wendy and her wonderful husband, Vince for a scrumptious dinner at Beacon. I met Wendy last September when I attended my first writer's conference, The Algonkian Pitch and Shop in NYC. Since then, Wendy has gone on to find an agent. She's near the end of the revision stage, and is gearing up to send her women's fiction book out on submission. I wish her the best of luck! It was great seeing her and catching up.

The next day, we saw Wicked, which is absolutely NOT to be missed, and visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex (the "real" one is in Cleveland, OH) where there's a special exhibit on John Lennon produced by Yoko. Being the rock princess I am, I was completely in my element and could have moved in and lived there happily ever after. If you're in NYC, I insist you attend both of these shows. You'll be forever in my debt, and I love when people are forever in my debt. Also, one lane of Broadway is closed off to traffic for a few blocks until the end of the year, so people can walk around or pull up a lounge chair and sit on the famous street. That was quite a hoot! (You can see in the picture the cars and taxis on the left, and pedestrians on the right.)

Here are a few more pics. Enjoy, and thanks for not giving up on me while I was away from my post this past week or so. You guys rock!!!!!

42 comments:

Lynnette Labelle said...

Did I understand correctly? Were there two conferences back-to-back? Did one outshine the other? You mentioned another conference (your first), how did these compare to that one? If you could only attend one of these conferences, which would you choose? How much were the fees?

Lynnette Labelle

http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

DebraLSchubert said...

Yes, the BEA and Backspace Writer's Conferences were back to back. The first conf. I attended was the Algonkian Pitch and Shop last September in NYC.

It would be hard to pick only one. If my main goal was to meet agents one-on-one in order to pitch a project, I'd say BEA. If my main goal was to meet agents not in a one-on-one setting and to learn about the publishing business, I'd say Backspace. I believe BEA was approx. $200 and the three-day Backspace Conf. was approx. $600. Believe me, it was money well spent!

valbrussell said...

You look like you had a blast! I envy your ability to attend but I'm living vicariously through your description Debbie. My digits are still crossed for you and I feel luck is in the wind. :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Val, If you're living vicariously through me, I hate to be the one to tell you you may need to reassess your life. I appreciate the digit crossing, however, since I need all the luck I can get!!!

Sharla said...

Wow! I'm so envious. I've wanted to go to BEA since years ago when I owned a bookstore. I played with the idea this year but real life and money and job schedules told me no. Reading your experience makes me kick myself! LOL. Ooooooooh, maybe next time.

DebraLSchubert said...

Sharla, Life is short, baby, you gotta do what you can while you've got the time. You should plan on it for next year. It's a truly amazing experience!;-)

Big Plain V said...

I envy you so much. I'm glad you had a good time, I knew you would, and now I'm glad you're back.

Anita said...

You look gorgeous!

I'm thrilled you experienced so much success and I hope it keeps coming your way!

DebraLSchubert said...

Ray, You're so sweet. How are things going w/your submission, btw? I hope great. You deserve all the success in the world.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Anita, Thank you! It was so much fun. I wish you nothing but success as well, and I look forward to meeting you when I'm back in Denver (hopefully, early October).

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Looks like you had great time, so glad. Hope you picked up some great tips :o)

DebraLSchubert said...

Ken, I did have a great time. It was like OMG so totally awesome! Hopefully, one of the brilliant agents who asked me for pages will be smart enough to want to represent me. If not, I still had a great time and learned a lot. I'll just have to drink more for a while...

Angie Ledbetter said...

So glad the conferences met your expectations. And congrats on the agent interest! Can't wait to find out how it goes. :)

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

That's exciting. I attended the BEA when it was held in Los Angeles. It wasn't quite as exciting as what you described but being a newbie, I was a bit overwhelmed.

Good going with the full and partial requests. Hope it all goes well.

Beth said...

So glad to hear that it went well! I really hope that it means very good things for you. Fingers crossed! Dang, I already had a hankering for Washington, DC, and now I've got one for NYC, too. It's been a while...too long! Hugs, Beth

Pink Ink said...

Love reading about your experiences!!

Good luck with the agent subs!

DebraLSchubert said...

Angie, Thanks, and I'll definitely keep you posted...!!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Beth, Sounds like it's time to do some traveling! DC's great - we're going there next weekend, as a matter of fact. But, nothing compares to NYC in my book. Since I was born in Brooklyn, it's probably a genetic thing.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

CCD, Was that last year? The gal I was with attended that one as well. I'm not sure which she liked better. What was your experience like?

DebraLSchubert said...

PI, Thanks so much! And thanks for the good luck wishes. I think they play a HUGE role in this whole mysterious thing...!

WendyCinNYC said...

Dinner was lots of fun! We had a great time.

Nice pictures!

DebraLSchubert said...

Wendy, Your company and generosity will not be forgotten. I look forward to seeing you again either in NYC or Philly!

Rebecca Anne said...

Ok, that read exactly how I'd hope it would have gone for you! Excitement, fun, information, meeting people, lots of pictures....a request for a full!!
Ok, take away the one day writers were upset...(but you snuck around that, so thats good)
Enjoy your memories and soak up all those new social connections~
Rebecca

Debbie said...

I'm so happy you had such a great time. The photos look wonderful.

DebraLSchubert said...

Rebecca, I'm glad you enjoyed my little trip back to NYC - it really was more than I hoped for. Now, all I need is for the publishing gods to douse my dream agent with magic dust and make her fall in love with my ms. (Ah, we females never grow out of believing in fairy tales...)

DebraLSchubert said...

Debbie, Thanks so much and I'm glad you enjoyed the pics!!

Kasie West said...

That's awesome! Congrats on your partials and full out there! Don't you love New York? And Wicked is amazing. Sounds like you had a blast. Thanks for the recap.

Pen Pen said...

Lee CHILDS?!!!!!!
I'm gonna have to come back and re-read this post after my heart attack subsides!!! AHHHH!!!!

Kathryn Magendie said...

How cool - yay! asked for a full ms -- I'll keep my fingers crossed tight tight and tighter!! whoohooooooo!

Lilly said...

Sounds fabulous! I think some exciting things are coming your way!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, Yes I DO love NYC! Every time I visit part of me wants to move right in. If I had a spare million bucks, I'd definitely buy an apartment!!! Wicked was beyond wonderful. I cried for a half hour after the show - not because it's sad, but because of the extreme talent I had the privilege of being in the presence of. It was overwhelming.

DebraLSchubert said...

PenPen, Yes, LEE CHILDS! And what a nice looking man he is. And kind. And approachable. Wish you were there...

DebraLSchubert said...

Kat, Fingers, toes, and hair crossed. (Seriously, I'm thinking about braiding my hair.) I'm doing my best not to think about it too much - if it's meant to be it'll be. I just hope it's meant to be.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Lilly, From your lips to Buddah's ears! How are things down under?

Vivi Alden said...

Wow, that all sounds so amazing!! I've been scared of conferences...okay, mostly the pitch slams because I heard the agents are just BRUTAL, BRUTAL, BRUTAL. They sit all stone faced and will cut you off if they hate it (and tell you flat out that they hate it). But it doesn't sound like the agents you pitched to were like that at all. Or were they?

Anyway, I'm sooooooo excited for you!!! Keep us posted on everything!

DebraLSchubert said...

Vivi, I think all agents are different. They're human beings like us, at least I think they are, and some are nicer than others. You just have to be confident and feel passionate about your work. The rest will work itself out.;-)

Kelly said...

Wow! That is some trip to NY! That would be so fun (and nervewracking to meet the agents and pitch your book!!). Congrats on the requests!
Great photos, you're looking quite lovely. I would so love to see that John Lennon exhibit! (I have yet to go to the R&R Hall of Fame, but Oh I will someday!)

DebraLSchubert said...

Kelly, It was an amazing trip. I'm sad it's over. Pitching to the agents wasn't as bad as you might think. I guess it depends on your frame of mind. I was in a very good mood and enjoyed the process.

Definitely check out the Lennon exhibit if you're in NYC - it's beyond!

nsiyer said...

Great and I got a lot of insight. Thanks you are back.

DebraLSchubert said...

nsiyer, I love when you show up over here. Brightens my whole day.;-)

jdcoughlin said...

I love your posts! And I too am living vicariously through you. When we were talking about Backstage at BEA, I so wanted to go with you. But now I'm thinking how amazingly hard it must have been to gear up the next morning. Living the dream is fantabulous, but nerve-racking too. Sounds like you came, you saw, you roared. Way to go, baby!

DebraLSchubert said...

Judith, Actually, Backspace was easy since I was flying on the adrenaline rush of BEA! Meeting you was definitely a highlight of my week, and made BEA so much better. Have you gotten your sample pages out yet???

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