Pub Rants

More Than A Job

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STATUS: Got a lot accomplished. Close to wrapping up a new deal. Got a work out on submission and worked on a contract. That’s productive let me tell you.

What song is playing on the ipod right now? YOU BELONG TO ME by Dean Martin

Every year I try and attend at least 2 or 3 writers conferences. Well, this year I had some huge brain fart and I agreed to three and then realized that I also needed to go to the RT Convention and then I got invited to another conference that was local and then…

In the end, I scheduled something like 6 conferences in four months. Not to mention my trips to New York—the first being in April. Not smart I’m telling you.

So even though I way over-committed myself and can already feel pangs of regret, I didn’t cancel any because I like attending conferences.

Why? For several reasons really.

I really enjoy educating writers. I wouldn’t blog if I didn’t feel that. When I attend conferences, I always request to give one of several workshops I’ve developed that I think attendees would find of value. It’s the teacher in me. Back in the early nineties, I taught college—English 101, 102, and literature. I sometimes miss the classroom and here’s an opportunity to exercise those rusty muscles.

Although I have to crack up about the workshop I’m giving with my author Shanna in Dallas this weekend. It’s the Hot Genre of Chick Lit. Well, a year ago when they were planning this conference and confirming workshops, you could still call it the hot genre because you could actually sell a chick lit novel. Not so much the case these days.

Harrumph. Here we are a year later and the title really should be the Hot Genre of Chick Lit that’s Now in the Toilet but I’ve already blogged about that.

Too late to change the workshop.

At the very least, I guess Shanna and I get to talk about why the market has shifted and what that means for established writers and those new authors trying to break in. Still, it makes me wonder if I should fiddle significantly with my power point presentation. I can tell that this workshop won’t be offered much in the near future—or until the market turns around anyway.

I also like attending conferences because I like to stay in touch with the people behind the writing. It’s so easy to sit in my office and say NO, NO, NO to query after query or 50 partials in a row and forget that this is a person’s dream. It’s my job, yes, and publishing is first and foremost a business, yes, but being an agent is often more than just a job. I mean, come on, how many jobs have dream fulfillment as part of the description.

Conferences are the human face to what can be a dehumanizing experience of trying to get published.

It’s a good reason for why writers should go as well.

9 Responses

  1. never give up said:

    I’m glad you didn’t cancel any, because I’m attending the PPWC, and I’m looking forward to hearing you and the other agents…you never know, I might even end up pitching to you (you lucky agent, you 😉

  2. Anonymous said:

    I’m another agent who likes conferences. The excitement I feel from the participants keeps me energized and focused on the big picture…gotta love that “dream fulfillment” thing!

    word verification today is “jueci”…hmmm…sounds like something from a romance novel

  3. Anonymous said:

    “I mean, come on, how many jobs have dream fulfillment as part of the description.”

    What a remarkable opportunity.

    Happy to hear agents think of such things. Thank you for sharing.


  4. Eileen said:

    I’ve heard you speak at conferences and you’ve got the gift. Your talk was both interesting and informative. That combo doesn’t always happen.

  5. Anonymous said:


    PPWC is a wonderful conference. That’s where I pitched Kristin the story that snagged her as my agent. I’m still trying to decide whether to go this year, but I’m closer to being convinced.


  6. Candice Gilmer said:

    Hi Kristin,

    I will be attending the conference in Dallas you mentioned, and I was looking forward to your presentation about chick lit (considering I have written some and trying to sell it)… and now I’m even more intrigued in attending that particular session on the roster. 😉

    (Is it bad form to say hi before a conference via blog? I’ll be the one with the pink hair… 😉 If this is bad form, then you can ignore me. 🙂 )

  7. December Quinn said:

    If I wasn’t so afraid of flying, I’d be at RWA this year, at least. 🙁 (Plus the expense of flying UK to US in June after ticket prices have gone up.)

  8. Wendy Boucher said:

    How perfectly timely in my little world. Last night at Barnes & Noble I was giving an author talk and somebody asked me why agents bother with conferences. I knew why I went — I found my agent at a conference. And now you’ve provided with me some insight into why agents like conferences too.


  9. Angie said:

    I’m not involved with the publishing industry but I attend conferences year after year to see the friends that I’ve made and kept over the years. Often times it is the one time that I get to see them each year. Thank goodness for email!

    Also, just wanted to note that I picked up Shanna’s book after it was mentioned here and loved it!