Yesterday was my first ever writer's conference. Here's some highlights:
There were three sessions. The first one was "The Fire in Fiction" presented by Mr. Don Maass. I attended this session hoping to get excited again about my historical fiction project sitting on the shelf. Besides being an excellent teacher (I wish I had more than one hour - but I will buy the book), Mr. Maass is also a local NY literary agent. The class was great and my head was overloaded with ideas.
The other two sessions I attended were not nearly what I expected. But that's the breaks you get when you attend any conference. You decide what sessions to attend based upon very short blurbs in the bulletin. What sounds good on paper may not be so good live and in person. Oh well.
The big event of the day was the opportunity to pitch my manuscript, "Christian Mythology" to a whole bunch of literary agents. The desire of course was to hook at least one. Nearly 70 agents were on hand. I pitched to five. Given that there were about 500 other attendees, five pitches was a great number.
Unfortunately, I struck out with all five. But it was a good game. I learned that my manuscript really needs to be pitched to literary agents who specialize in the Christian marketplace. None of the five I saw yesterday were specialists. Another lesson learned similar to picking sessions above. Although an agent bio states they are interested in religion/spirituality non-fiction, they're really not interested in my particular genre. That's good to know. The agent/client relationship is built on trust and shared enthusiasm for the book. So all five were very honest about that. Some provided additional helpful ideas while others just said "no thanks".
There is a Christian Writer's conference coming up in August. Perhaps they will have agents there. The flyer I received in the mail was not specific. If not, they I will go back to using the indirect method of pitching via e-mail. In the meantime, I am still waiting to hear from Ligonier Ministries. They are reviewing my proposal right now.