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2016 Conventions? Advice Please!

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by JP Harker, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. JP Harker

    JP Harker Scribe

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    OK, my problem is twofold and I seek some info and then some sage advice:

    I recently watched a Jim Butcher video where he says he made sure to go to lots of writing conventions to make personal contact with agents/publishers as this made them more likely to accept his work. Seems like sound advice and I notice a few other writers say the same. My fist question is to UK folk, the second is to everyone:

    What conventions are there in the UK that are actually worth going to? - Google was not much help!

    Second question is open it all:

    How on earth do you approach people when you're an unpublished first-timer? So much of the advice online is for people who already have some of their work 'out there', but I'm a guy starting from nothing. Any wise words out there?
     
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

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  3. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Let me suggest that the London Book Fair is not the best place for an unpublished author to get to know agents/publishers. That event is basically a B to B event where people in the industry expect to be doing a lot of business with each other, especially selling international rights for English language books. It is not an event where industry people are looking to meet new talent or are expecting to deal with the public much at all.

    I am guessing that the UK has fan oriented events and events oriented towards unpublished writers just like NA does but I just don';t know the names or dates of them although I expect a good Google search will do the trick. In NA I could recommends dozens of events for you like The World Fantasy Convention, Worldcon (which was in London in 2014), Ad Astra, Norwestcon, Thrillerfest, etc, etc, etc. I am pretty confident that the UK would have the same thing. These events are much more geared for aspiring authors to meet agents and editors and often have specific events just for that purpose.

    If they don't have specific events to meet agents/editors, let me tell you two little secrets that will help you. The first is that editors and agents can often be found in the bar at the end of the day. Secondly they are human beings. You can meet them in the bar or at lunch and talk with them about the weather, football, the news or whatever you tend to talk to other human beings about before you talk with them about your great new manuscript and business plans. I think you can have very good success in relationship building if you treat them like people first and business contacts second.

    Cons of this sort also have lots of social events that will help you get to know industry professionals. Look for tastings and hospitality suites and book launch parties as they will often have industry professionals in attendance. Keep year ear to the ground for poker games as well. I have made some great contacts and spent many hours talking with very successful authors and industry professionals as informal poker games that have popped up at my favourite local con.

    There are a few more tricks, but I can't give them all away in one post!

    Good luck.
     
    JP Harker likes this.
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I looked up "Writer Conventions in the Midwest" a few days ago, and I found one called Midwest Writers' Workshop Midwest Writers Workshop | Helping Writers Become Published Authors and it's $400 to attend. That sounds like sort of a lot, so I was wondering whether you'd heard of this one, Russ, and what you thought of how much it ought to cost to find a good and high quality convention to attend. I live in Ohio now, rather than New Mexico, and while it's nice that things are closer together here in the Midwest (where i'm from, since I grew up in Wisconsin), I'm further from places like California, where stuff tends to happen. ;) If you have any other related advice on cons (since you're following my other thread, which is linked to this issue for me), I'd really appreciate suggestions.
     
  5. JP Harker

    JP Harker Scribe

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    Cheers, will see what I can find
     
  6. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Also, JPT, there are other online pitch sessions you can participate in, because most of them are not limited by borders and ask for submissions in English, but will accept both British and American English submissions. I posted a thread about it a while ago, but there's a Facebook group that specifically does this twice a year, opens up their page to all kinds of writers (last time was in December) to pitch their books to agents from all over. The rules are simple, you get three "pitches" during the run, and agents poke their heads in during the three-day pitch period or whatever it is. You can post three times, and they encourage writers to develop three separate pitches for each novel, on the off chance that their first pitch appeals to an agent but doesn't fully encourage them to take the bait. The hope is that if you interest them the first time, your second pitch will seal the deal.

    Writers get "likes" on their pitches, which is an invitation to contact the agent and skip right to the head of their "read pile". I'll look up what it's called. PitMad, (here's the thread I started about it: http://mythicscribes.com/forums/publishing/15654-pitmad.html ) You might try something like that, because it is free, doesn't matter where you live, and is a very focused pitch session. The problem I've sen with some writer gatherings, is that they tend to have a focus on beginner writers learning more about the craft, which is great, but if you're specifically looking for opportunities to pitch, it isn't probably the right place for that, unless they have a specific pitch session planned. I'm not an expert, so I don't really know.

    Anyways, there is also Bookus, which one of my friends from Ireland did. He got published through it. The basic way it works is that you upload chapters of your novel and then readers read it and rate it. If you get a lot of people to follow you as you post chapters, you can secure a publishing deal and they take care of editing and everything, because it's a publisher. If you're interested in learning more about that, PM me, and I'll give you his name and the title of his book, so you can look it up on your own. It's a dark thriller/ horror, but it's a great book, and it's no wonder he did so well on Bookkus.

    Hope that helps some.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  7. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    So I had a look at that convention and it looks geared to the business side of writing. While I am not personally famaliar with the particular agents and editors that are going it does look like a good con to go to. My only concern is that the number of agents and editors was fairly small, but that really is all about the number of attendees, not the raw number of agents. It is the ration and accessibility that matters.

    Cost is all over the map. There are cons from $100-$1000 that can deliver good value each in their own way.

    Since you are in Ohio, if I were you I would put the World Fantasy Convention at the top of your con list for this year, since it is being held in Ohio.

    World Fantasy Convention 2016 – Flights of Fantasy
     
  8. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    IN the meantime, I found a writer workshop I really want to attend, with four bestsellers attending and also three top-rated agents (oh, and only a very small number of attendee spaces). One of those agents is my ultimate favorite who I've queried twice. I SO want to go, but it's $3000 to attend. Plus hotels for a week and food and all that would bring it to about $5000. So...unless any of you want to make a donation to the "send a poor writer to her dream workshop" fund...I won't be in attendance and my heart is breaking a little.
     
  9. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Now I am dying to know, which conference?
     
  10. JP Harker

    JP Harker Scribe

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    Thanks - am looking into it even now!
     
  11. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    yeah, it looks like the next pitMad is june 9
     
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