Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Conferences: FAQ

It's been a great month of talking about nothing but Conferences. If you missed any of my posts, please look at the doo-dad over there --> with this month's posts to catch up (remember, I've been doing topic months since January so there might be some other good stuff you missed too). To wrap up this month's topic is my Frequently Asked Questions post. If you have any more questions about conferences, please leave them in the comments and I will update the post as they come in.
  • What is proper email etiquette for an agent who has requested a partial? Query format? Conversational? With attachments or without?
    • See my recent post on just this subject. The note can be conversational (I was the person wearing the British hat that we were joking about at dinner), but mostly in a query format. You must mention that they requested it from which conference. And always include your query for reference. Attach only if the agent has specifically asked for an attachment (you can send the note and query and ask the agent's preference if you honestly can't remember).
  • During my pitch, the agent asked if I brought in any pages with me. I didn't and am personally glad not to have, because I'd rather talk to somebody than have them read over my work. But is this standard practice and should I plan on bringing the first few pages with me in the future? 
    • You certainly can if you'd like to be prepared. It's not standard and I, personally, will never request pages at a conference. If you have a really long pitch session (say 30 minutes--yes it's happened) then plan on bringing material just in case. You never know what sort of nuggets of wisdom you might get with that extra time. But I'm in the same boat, I don't like reading in the moment. Also, it is good practice to have a few pages on hand--if you learn something awesome in a session about first pages you can apply what you learn then and there before it flits from your mind.
  • If I realize my manuscript isn't ready to send out because I learned things at the conference, should I email the agents who requested it and let them know I won't be submitting it for a few months?
    • No. We don't expect you to send it out right away. You can take five years if you need to, or you can choose not to submit at all. An extra email like that in our inbox is just clutter.
  • Do you know if there is a good resource online listing conferences and linking to information for individual conferences? I've been hoping to find a writing conference within driving distance of my house, but I haven't been able to find one. I live in a relatively major metropolitan area (halfway between DC and Baltimore) and I've been surprised at the lack of writing conferences around here.
    • Google it! Also check out local writing associations. I just Googled it and found the Maryland Writers' Association and the DC Writers Group. Likewise, there is a Baltimore Writers Conference. If you're looking specifically for SCBWI or RWA, they usually have chapters by regions listed on their website, as well as meetings, writers groups, and extras throughout the year. My best advice (besides using Google) is to get involved in a local writing chapter or find a local writing group--they are a wealth of information and between the lot of you will know the upcoming conferences. 
  • What is the protocol for conference queries? Would you give extra attention/feedback to a query you'd received via a conference?
    • I definitely try my hardest to give a query from a conference (say a writer didn't have the opportunity to pitch me while there) extra attention. But if the query simply isn't my genre, there isn't much I can do. If a writer did pitch me and I requested the query and/or sample pages, I'll try my best to give the writer extra advice. But when I'm getting a hundred additional queries after a conference, I have to pick my battles.
  • Is it common practice to send a Thank You note to agents (if say they took some time with you or gave your good advice during a pitch or at dinner) even if they didn't request any material from you? 
    • I'd say no. Again, it's clutter. It seems callous, but it's our job at conferences to help you and I probably won't remember you. It's a kind gesture (and there are some writers who I've requested to keep in touch with me because we hit it off and they were a person I wanted to keep in my pocket) but in all likelihood, it'll end up in the trash. It isn't like a job interview in which a follow-up is expected.
Questions added:
  • If an agent requests sample pages PASTED into the email, should we reformat the text in "email format" (i.e., no indents, single-spaced, extra space between paragraphs) -- or does it work to cut and paste the text directly from Word, including the first-line indents and double-spacing? I'm confused on this! 
    • I think you're over thinking this. I've never encountered the problem before. You should be able to copy and paste from word (it works for me). Everything should translate just fine (double-spacing and indents included). If you're worried, test it. Send it to yourself or a second email address or a friend's address who has a different email provider to see how it turns out. As long as it's not too wonky, we don't really care.
If you have any additional questions, please ask in the comments, and I'll update the post.

Happy conferencing!

7 comments:

Emily said...

Thanks, Vickie, for answering all these questions! I'm taking notes for my next conference.

Christina said...

Many thanks, Vickie--your posts about conferences and communicating with agents have been incredibly helpful!

I do have one question... if an agent requests sample pages PASTED into the email, should we reformat the text in "email format" (i.e., no indents, single-spaced, extra space between paragraphs) -- or does it work to cut and paste the text directly from Word, including the first-line indents and double-spacing? I'm confused on this!

Thank you again for sharing your insights--it's much, much appreciated!

Rachel said...

I'll be attending my first writers conference this October (RWA Emerald City Writers Conference) and I'm really enjoying your tips. Super helpful. :)

Matthew Bryant said...

Thanks so much for this! :)

Martha Ramirez said...

These are some really great questions and answers! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

Rebekah Yami said...

Who ever asked "I do have one question... if an agent requests sample pages PASTED into the email, should we reformat the text in "email format"", a humongous thank you!

That was also something I was just pondering a couple of days back. And Vickie, thank you for answering! Sometimes, and it's happened to me, things just doesn't copy/paste correctly into email. I never thought just to send it to myself to make sure it doesn't come out funky.

Aisyah Putri Setiawan said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

Bercak Putih Di Bagian Mulut Bisa Jadi Gejala Kanker Mulut
Beberapa Penyebab Yang Menyebabkan Anak Terkena Asma
Obat Penambah Gairah Untuk Pria
Obat Untuk Menurunkan Serum Kolesterol
Atasi Komedo Anda Dengan Masker Putih Telur
Obat Untuk Merangsang Dan Mengaktifkan Saraf
Obat Radang Gusi Bengkak
Obat Penyakit HSP Herbal
Tips Untuk Menyehatkan Dan Menyegarkan Tubuh Secara Alami
Waspada Polip Bisa Jadi Tanda Awal Penyakit Kanker