Like L’Oréal, My Writing is Worth It!

TAF_at_WDCThis weekend I’m headed back to New York City for the second time this year. And for the first time in a long while I’m going as an attendee. No booths, no panel appearances. It’ll be a nice change of pace.

However, it felt a bit odd deciding to head to the Writer’s Digest Conference. As I saw the agent list come together, I realized it was a hell of an opportunity. Yet I questioned whether I should spend the money for flights, hotel, and the conference. I asked the question: “Was it worth the expense?”

But that’s the wrong question to ask. The more important question is “Am I worth the investment?”

Sometimes you frame a question the wrong way, seeing things from a perspective that doesn’t work. The first problem: I referred to the travel and costs as “it.” This makes the associated cost feel like paying your cable bill or car insurance. No one wants to do that. Second, I referred to it as an expense. It’s not the case. This is an investment. I decided back in April to dive wholeheartedly into this career so I need to adequately invest in this endeavor. So here I go to New York to take part in one of the biggest writing conferences as an attendee.

It’s weird going to a con with only two objectives: absorb as much master-class level programming possible and enter the Pitch Slam. The Pitch Slam is the endgame and the primary reason for the investment. From the description on the Writer’s Digest site, this will be an intense period of time. As seen on their website, “On the day of the event, you’ll meet one-on-one with as many of your preferred agents and editors as possible in the 1-hour time slot. Each pitch meeting lasts 3 minutes, including 90 seconds to pitch and 90 seconds for agent/editor feedback and discussion.”

Because the timeframe will be so concise, I categorized the agents ahead of time. And I’m now following this categorization with queries moving forward, too. Feel free to use this if it helps:

  1. Don’t Leave Without Pitching!
    • Nearly everything in their description matches my writing. They represent my genre, as well as books or authors that are right up my alley. That or their Manuscript Wish List is a near exact match with what I’ve written.
  2. Priority
    • It may not be a perfect fit, but damn we have a lot in common on what we’re interested in writing and looking to read, respectively.
  3. If Capacity Allows
    • There’s a clear path for this agent and me to work together, but there are a few things we may not connect with. Therefore I’ll pitch them to see.
  4. Doubtful
    • There were only one or two things in their agent listing that seemed like we may work. Therefore I’d love to have the conversation to explore the possibility, or to see if there’s a path in the future.
  5. No Chance In Hell
    • Literally, nothing about their agent listing matches what I write. Not a good or bad thing, just means what I’m writing isn’t what they’re reading/want to publish.

I’ve written my pitches for the Pitch Slam. And since I’m bringing two books to the table, my icebreaker will see which one they prefer. Depending on their answer, I’ve got a single-book pitch ready and a “lightning round” in the event they like both ideas.

Are you going to the Writer’s Digest Conference? If so, let me know. Would love to chat and meet some new writing buddies.


Published by thomasafowler

Thomas A. Fowler is the author of nerdy things, entertaining readers by writing primarily science fiction. An award-winning author, he self-publishes some books while pursuing the traditional route with his feature-length projects. Fowler works as a Producer/Project Manager to help pay the bills, especially since he is a father of four. He's had work featured in Buzzfeed, AdAge, Creativity Online, and is a proud Hufflepuff, INFJ, and forever Team Cap!

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