Monday, August 10, 2009

Don't Wake Me Up: Post-Conference Report

I think I dreamed I attended the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conference (Write His Answer) last week. But I've been assured that the events I am about to relate to you actually happened. Even so, I don't have signed affidavits, so take this all with a grain of salt.

First of all, I have to say, I loved the conference. I got a lot out of the workshops and continuing sessions. I hope to attend again, and will probably become a regular.

I have to say, the thing that blew me away was the response to my "pitch."

Now I don't know that I have the whole "pitching" thing down. How much to share with each appointment has proven to be a challenge for me. I tried to vary the length based on how interested I thought the agent or editor might be, and found that to be a problem. I think I made one pitch overly short, and ended up making another editor glaze over.

But, out of my appointments, I did leave with two requests for proposals--one from an agent and one from a publisher. And I was ecstatic about that. Yes, it was more than I was expecting. The publisher's representative asked to read a portion and the synopsis during the appointment, and was highly enthusiastic about my manuscript, comparing it to several authors--um, best-selling authors (blush and squeal).

I also scheduled a paid critique, and was told that I had wasted my money--by the author doing the crit. "It is ready," she said. And then proceeded to tell me she read it aloud in the bookstore/registration area, and everybody was cracking up. (Yes, it is supposed to be funny.) I had wondered if she were exaggerating, but I have confirmation on that one. Unreal. Pinch me. No--let me keep dreaming.

I had one of those weeks where reality has surpassed not only my expectations, but my daydreams as well. Considering my original plans were to finish the manuscript, query it around (for experience sake) and the put it and the rejections into a drawer. So anything from here on is only icing on the cake. And I wasn't even expecting cake.

Well, now it is time to come back down to earth. Today is laundry day, and I'm going to start working on the proposal. Fortunately I took two workshops that touched on how to prepare one--and got insight on that from the agent, the publisher's representative, and the author that prepared my critique. Too bad their information included a few contradictions. I guess maybe I should have taken just one class.

More later this week on I try to figure them out.


  1. Speechless (mouth agape in awe and wonder). You are the epitome of "you have to watch out for the quiet ones"! I'm proud of you!

  2. Thanks, Shelley--

    I'm finally beginning to come back down to earth. This is still far from a sale, but even being able to submit the proposal to a house that is closed to unsolicited submissions is one step closer.

    But I have to say, it is really gratifying to find people who like my work.

  3. Hi Barb, just had to say this is incredible--well, not incredible, your talent is apparent in every blog entry--but wonderful, wonderful news! Best of luck with the rest of the process, you are an inspiration, truly. I'm so glad you found "Monk", which led to writing, and also that you had this amazing writing journey as solace during your last months with your Mom.

    Have you settled on a final title, and how long did the finished piece turn out to be...and if these answers are elsewhere in your blog, forgive my patchy memory.

    Again, congratulations, I just have a really good feeling that you will soon see this published, and it will be such a kick to see it stocked in the mystery store I work in (yes, caretaker for my Dad, plus full time job during the week, plus the bookstore on wonder my memory is patchy...)

    Here's the link to the store, maybe we will see you come through and do a signing some day!

    Deb (Aldebaran)

  4. Thanks, Deb--

    Sorry so long for the response. For some reason your comment didn't trigger an email and I just saw it this morning!

    I'm leaning toward the title Peril at the Potluck at the moment. I think it captures the cozy and humorous aspects of my mystery better than other titles I was considering. And the finished manuscript (although I'd still like to give it one more pass) came out to be 83,000 words.

    And wouldn't a signing be fun!

  5. Hi Barb, hey no problem on the response, can you believe this is the very first time I have had time to come back and check on it? Where is the time going...

    Okay, so I shelve mysteries at my bookstore (not mine, I just work there but I am proprietary of it) at least once a month, sometimes more, and as such I have read the titles of a zillion books...and Peril at the Potluck is a winner. It has a real ring to it, I like the folksy "potluck" and I like that it avoids a really bad pun of some sort, which seem to be all the rage in cozies these days. Well, also in paranormal, to be fair. I wonder if authors have control over their titles or whether publishing houses can insist on a particular title. That might account for some of the groaners I have seen.

    83,000 words is an amazing achievement! I cannot wait to see what you hear back from your proposals, it is so exciting! Way to go, way to move through fear and just do it!

    I still have a very good feeling about your prospects and will be hoping all your dreams come true for your literary child.

    Deb (Aldebaran)