First off, let me preface this by saying that I am not writing this blog post simply because I just went to a class at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer's Conference and heard all about how important it is to blog regularly. I'm not. And I'm not lying either. I'm simply sitting in my room, listening to the thunder and wanting to blog about how I'm already putting what I've learned into action.
Last night, we had a keynote on how to make the most of your time and network. Perhaps you came here to meet such-and-such but all their appointment times were filled up before you could get your name down. It happens. We don't like it when it does but it happens. Well, the keynote speaker said that you should be open to wherever God wants to lead you and whomever he wants you to meet or have appointments with.
So, yes, last night I made a mad dash to the appointment sheets to score an appointment with Sue Brower, the editor at Zondervan, and David Van Diest, an agent with D.C. Jacobson. These were my top two and I did manage to get the appointments with them that I wanted. Score one for me! This morning, I made another mad dash after the morning general session to the appointment room to see if I could get some other appointments. I was lucky and managed to get the other two editors I wanted (one from Tyndale and one from Harvest House) and the second literary agent. I've already got an appointment with Chip MacGregor because I paid him for a critique. I was pumped and I was ready.
I'm not very good at pitching. I trip over my words, nod too much and usually just generally make a fool out of myself - at least in my opinion. But this time, I started with Mrs. Brower, whom I had met at dinner last night. And she made me feel right at home. The session went great, I have a bunch more ideas on how to make my book better and I was feelin' good.
Now, I know what you're thinking. When are you going to get to the Divine Appointments and Holy Introductions part? You're in luck; I'm there. At lunch, I didn't know who I was going to sit with (you can sit with the agents and editors and writers at lunch and dinner, which is nice) but I ended up going by myself to sit with Caleb Breakey, a writer who'd had a website for teen writers that I had been on before it closed down. I sat and waited and introduced myself when he sat down and told him that connection. It was really good to put his face and person with the name I knew from the website I had enjoyed so much and I was able to tell him my pitch and he liked it, which gave me a little morale boost. I also mentioned that I had a pitch appointment with David Van Diest, who is Caleb's agent, and he said to tell David that he [Caleb] sent me. So when I had my appointment, I said that and that Caleb had said he liked my pitch (which he did, I didn't embellish or put words in his mouth, I swear) and that seemed to really put me in a new light with David. There was a holy introduction with Caleb (sitting at his table) that gave me a leg-up with my pitch session.
I also had a good pitch session with Diana Flegal from Hartline Literary and received very positive feedback. I have a good bit of work to do on the novel now but things are definitely looking promising. It's been a great first day and, with 2 pitch appointments tomorrow and a critique Wednesday, it's not over yet. I can't wait to see what God has in store next.