This Saturday Im heading to East Lansing, Michigan to attend the Write on the Red Cedar writing conference. The event promises to be an action-packed, information-filled day highlighting a number of talented speakers and ending in a four-hour intensive writing workshop led by renowned literary agent Donald Maass. In addition to listening to the speakers and participating in the writing workshop, I will also have the opportunity to meet privately with literary agent Katharine Sands of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. My meeting with Katharine Sands will be short and to the pointeight minutes long to be exact! In those eight minutes, I will try to remember how to speak and pitch my new novel to her. Ive never pitched a novel to an agent in person before, so this will be uncharted territory for me.
To help prepare myself for the conference, Ive decided to put together a list of (realistic) goals that I hope to accomplish on Saturday. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Pitch my book to Katharine Sands without sounding like a mumbling idiot
The thought of pitching my book to a real, live agent is making me nervous. Ive been practicing my pitch on my husband. Ill get halfway through it, say um a few times and then lose my train of thought. I wrote the pitch down on paper and tried to memorize it, while still sounding natural. Lets just say, theres still lots of room for improvement! Luckily, I have five more days to practice.
2. Learn three ways to improve my current manuscript
Ill be actively writing and revising my work during the workshop with Donald Maass. Ive only heard great things about his workshops, which are based on his book, Writing the Breakout Novel. Cant wait to see how my manuscript transforms!
3. Exchange business cards with at least six people
Im confident I can achieve this goal. I just had new business cards printed and shipped to me. They are shiny and new and all of my contact information is up to date. Im excited to pass them around!
4. Find a potential online critique partner or critique group
I havent had great luck with critique groups that meet in person due to scheduling conflicts, weather cancellations, etc. Id love to meet another writer (or writers) with whom I could exchange work online and help each other meet our writing goals from the comfort of our own homes.
5. Come home with at least five solid takeaways
I promise to achieve this goal, mostly because Ive already entitled my next blog post The Top Five Things I Learned at Write on the Red Cedar.
Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks to see how I fared with all of my writing conference goals. Until then, happy writing!