NYC, Here I Come!!!!

I'm gearing up for two writers conferences next week. The first is the BEA - Book Expo America. The part I will be attending is the writers conference portion held on May 27th. There will be workshops all day and then what they call a Pitch Slam in the afternoon. The Pitch Slam is home to the largest gathering of agents in any one place for this type of event - 66 agents to be exact. How it works is you choose which agents you want to pitch to, get in his or her line, wait your turn, and pitch directly to them one-on-one. No pressure. I'm told there were writers in tears last year. Hopefully, yours truly will not fall into that category.

The rest of the conference goes from May 28th - 31st and is for booksellers, agents, editors, publishers, educators, librarians, and published authors from varying genres. Some of the more well-known authors include Nicolas Sparks, David Balducci, Meg Cabot, Jeanette Walls, Craig Ferguson, and Tracy Kidder. The part I'd most like to see, however, is the Keynote Speakers on May 28th. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and Clarence Clemons, the Big Man from Springsteen's E-Street Band will "discuss their memoirs and provide behind-the-scenes and ultimate insider accounts of their lives on and off the big stage." That appeals greatly to my rock princess sensibilities.

However, I'll miss out on that tasty tidbit because I'll be in the second writers conference of the week - the Backspace Writers Conference. This conference is held from May 28-30. The first day of Backspace is the Agent-Author Day where more than 20 high-profile agents rotate between three conference rooms listening to the 100 attendees query letters and first two pages of their manuscripts (this is for writers with completed ms's only). They'll listen to the pages and stop you when they've "heard enough" or "lose interest" and give the ever-popular "constructive criticism." Again, no pressure. On Days 2 & 3, there will be workshops on topics ranging from "The Agent-Author Relationship" to "Writing the Fight Scene" to "Query Letters that Work."

I was also lucky enough to sign up for a one-on-one with Deborah Serra, a successful screenwriter who has written eleven TV movies, seven feature films, two one-hours, two pilots, and over twenty half-hours. Her work has been produced by CBS, NBC, Lifetime, Showtime and others. I've e-mailed her a chapter from my book, and when we meet she will critique the dialogue aspects of it with me. I'll also be attending a "Polish Your Pitch" workshop, which is in addition to the regular conference. I'm feeling verklempt by the amount of information and networking opportunities with both writers and agents I'll experience next week!

And, as I stated in my previous post, I've been recruited by the lovely Agent Kae Tienstra to be the "eyes and ears" at both conferences and report back to her on what I've learned. I'll be guest blogging over her way sometime the week of June 1st. Please feel free to hop on over and see what she and her husband Jon have going on. (I'd highly recommend querying them. They're a class act.)

I'll post before I leave on Tuesday for NYC, I'll try and post while I'm there, and I'll certainly give a run-down after I return (providing I haven't thrown myself off the George Washington Bridge in utter frustration and writerly defeat!).
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