This past weekend I attended my first writing workshop as a writer. Since I signed up for it my knowledge and experience with the world of publishing has evolved and deepened, so the actual informational sessions were a bit too basic for my needs (but very interesting). However, I had also signed up for a ten-minute pitch session with two agents. This was a total first for me and I had very little clue as to what exactly I was supposed to say or do.
I prepared a short speech, dressed professionally, and tried to ignore the butterflies dancing around in my stomach. But when the time came to face the first agent I’m not going to lie to you, I froze big time. The agent in question was amazing. She reminded of teachers I know realizing one of their students has frozen out of anxiety. She was kind, patient, offering cues as to what information she wanted to hear and volunteered very good advice. In the end she was also kind enough to ask me to send her a sample of the manuscript even though I had totally botched the “audition”.
My second face-to-face session was in the afternoon and I was less nervous and a bit more prepared (thanks to the previous agent’s advice) but still anxious. Again, the agent was very kind, showed interest in the story, asked me all the right questions, gave me great advice, and in the end asked me for a sample of the manuscript as well.
That evening I got sick. My body just couldn’t handle all the pressure and anxiety and I crashed. No worries. I have bounced back, all in one piece.
In spite of being seriously nerve wrecking it was a very good experience. Even though other people said that it had not been the case with them, I have no complaints. I sounded like a bumbling idiot and those two ladies held my hand and managed to coax a mildly-coherent pitch out of me. I was impressed!
A critique panel was also part of the event and, however brutal it was at times, it was extremely enlightening. We got a rare bird view of what the agents look forward in and what makes an agent stop reading a manuscript.
Now I am heading for the big boys. Pushing myself to make reservations for the RWA in Atlanta next year. What are you up to fellow writers?