PDA

View Full Version : EXPERIENCE WITH WRITERS CONFERENCE?



COOLORANGEFREEZE
01-16-2007, 12:32 AM
I am seriously considering going to the San Francisco Writers Conference. It's $600 and an extra $45 to pitch your MS to the agents.

Do any of you have any experiences with this type of venue? Good or bad stories? What do you think?

Thanks for your opinions and experiences on this.

Pat~
01-16-2007, 12:41 AM
I've been to several writer's conferences, and highly recommend going if you can swing it. You can make some valuable contacts. I got an ongoing job writing devotionals by attending one conference and sharing a sample of my work with an editor there. I also got a request for a full manuscript of my book from another publisher, though 3 years later, I still haven't heard yea or nay...

Whether or not you have success with publishers/editors/agents, it's still invaluable soaking up the learning and the inspiration from being around other writers. I'm hoping to go to at least one conference this year.

ETA: I never had to pay $ to pitch to editors. We just signed up for appts., and I guess that was included in the cost of the conference. I have paid for $15-$35 critiques on occasion, though.

greglondon
01-16-2007, 01:20 AM
$600 and an extra $45 to pitch

I wouldn't do it.

see Yog's Law: http://www.sff.net/people/yog/

Paying someone money to look at your MS does not make your MS any more salable.

victoriastrauss
01-16-2007, 01:54 AM
It's $600 and an extra $45 to pitch your MS to the agents.IMO, agent pitch sessions are not very useful even where you don't have to pay extra. Where you do have to pay extra, it's tantamount to a reading fee. The AAR takes a dim view of this, at least per its Canon of Ethics (http://www.aar-online.org/mc/page.do?sitePageId=10337):
Members who participate in conferences or other events where writers are charged separately for individual consultations with agents in which the writer's work is read or evaluated may not provide such consultations.

- Victoria

maestrowork
01-16-2007, 02:14 AM
$600? That's a bit steep, IMHO.

Cathy C
01-16-2007, 02:25 AM
I've attended a number of genre conferences (romance and SF/Fantasy) where there are agents and editors doing pitch sessions. If you're confident that the agent/editor is one you'd like to eventually place your manuscript with, it can be valuable. I stress that, because pitching to a house or agency that can't benefit your book, can't benefit YOU.

However, IMO $600 is VERY steep unless it's a full week. Most of the cons I attend are in the $350-400 range for four days. I'd have to check to be certain, but I do believe that the cons I've attended DO charge a surcharge to attend a pitch session. The editors and agents attend for free (which is often the only way a conference can GET them to attend), and the money for their room and meals has to come from somewhere so it can be paid to the hotel. :Shrug:

KTC
01-16-2007, 03:05 AM
That sounds extremely steep! I am on a committee that is in the opening discussions for creating a writing conference in Ontario...one which we hope will attract people from across the country as well as from the States. We are planning on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday conference...packed full with workshops, speakers, a Key Note...the whole bit. That sum you quote seems, in my opinion, outrageous. Again, we are just in the planning stages, hoping to have it in May of 2008. We are having manuscript editing and agent meetings, etc, as well...our main goal is going to be to help writers...keeping the prices down is going to be a part of that goal.

K1P1
01-16-2007, 04:10 AM
I'm assuming the $600 is just the registration and maybe some meals, but if it includes lodging, then it might be more reasonable.

rugcat
01-16-2007, 04:16 AM
I am seriously considering going to the San Francisco Writers Conference. It's $600 and an extra $45 to pitch your MS to the agents.This conference is the brainchild of Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen of the Larsen Pomada Agency in SF. The writing contest is headed by Laurie McLean, their new agent. (Who has sold a couple of books) The conference seems to be one of their major areas of focus.

The 45 dollars is for agent ďspeed dating,Ē 3 minutes each with 20 or so agents - personally, I donít think itís a useful tool.

There is a lot of info on this agency in the Larsen/Pomoda thread, so you might want to look at it to help you make a decision. I live in SF and have never considered attending, nor do I know anyone who has, but Iím not particularly connected with the writing community in SF.

These people are in no way scammers, but whether itís worth the money is an open question. It's a three day conference and the $600 does not include lodging.

COOLORANGEFREEZE
01-16-2007, 05:03 AM
Thanks for all of your responses. The conference is 3 days total. I believe it does include some food. But it doesn't include lodging... that's okay as I am also in the city. I won't be able to do a ton of things at the conference as our second son will have arrived a week earlier. But several of the agents, which I researched, are of interest to me. The overall price is steep to me too. But I figure if I'm gonna' pitch... why not at a venue in my city? So I am close to signing up... it's the money thing though... pay to play I guess.

I suppose it would be another way to see where I stand with my writing. Can I come off with a pitch and a MS that is saleable. Maybe this will be an expensive way to gauge my weaknesses and my strengths. So I'll let you know if I attend and what my experience was like.

jodiodi
01-16-2007, 05:42 AM
What genre do you write in? Perhaps there's a conference that costs less.

I know RWA will be in Dallas this year and San Francisco next year. I've attended it and found it helpful. The price isn't that steep though.

COOLORANGEFREEZE
01-16-2007, 06:29 AM
Thanks for the heads up on the conference (RWA) coming to the city next year. I'll keep my eyes open for that one too.

I've been working on a paranormal thriller for quite awhile. I've heard the term of an MS turning into a "vampire" (sapping the life out of a writer due to lots of editing I suppose)... and I feel somewhat the same. Although my editing continues to improve the story... at least in my eyes. I've started on my second book but I continue to hone the first into something that I feel I gave 100% effort and creativity.

Tish Davidson
01-16-2007, 09:32 AM
I've lived outside San Francisco for 10 years and have never heard of this conference. Does it have a track record or is it new? A couple years ago, I won writing contest that included attendance at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference in Colorado Springs. I thought it useful and enjoyed going, but probably would not have put out my own money to go. One thing that disappointed me was that quite a few of the agents and speakers that were advertised in the conference promotional literature as attending were replaced with other people (sometimes agents from the same agency, but with different interests) because the advertised bunch had "conflicts." If I had paid based on hoping to hear or talk to certain authors/editors/agents, I would have been disappointed. So, my question is how sure you are that the conference organizers can actually get the publishing professionals they are advertising as attending to actually show up?

PeeDee
01-16-2007, 10:33 AM
If the agent doesn't want my book and I still have, like, two minutes in my session, and she's kind of cute, can I still call it a regular date?

blacbird
01-16-2007, 10:52 AM
Echo Maestro. That's a lot of money.

I've been to several conferences, though not for four or five years now. I'm thinking of going this summer to the Pacific Northwest Writer's Conference in Seattle. I've attended that one three other times, and found it pretty congenial. Plus they have a very good, legit set of contests which you can enter without attending the conference, and where I won the only significant money I ever made in this endeavor, so I have a soft spot in my pancreas for it.

I've also been to a good conference in Salt Lake (Writers At Work) three or four times. And a very bad experience with another conference in California, once. That one turned out to be incredibly cliquish and snobby. Met some neat people, including Charles Schulz, William Styron and Ray Bradbury, so I did get me some nice signed editions. But the conference itself kinda sucked.

caw

bylinebree
01-16-2007, 12:04 PM
Our local con, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, is a great value for under $300 and highly reputable -- and we don't pay extra to pitch, either, it's included in the price.

But hey, if the one you spoke of is near you, looks good and you have the dough, go try it.

I love our con and want to attend others. The workshop sessions, rubbing elbows with others in our craft, and learning to talk confidently about your work are all pros for the cons (pun intended)

COOLORANGEFREEZE
01-16-2007, 07:02 PM
Tish - So you went to one that advertised specific professionals who would be there and they weren't? They were replaced by others in the industry? I wouldn't be happy about that since prepping to pitch to particular people. If several didn't show, one would wonder if they were ever going to be there in the first place. Maybe a refund via small claims court would be in order. I guess calling the conference to verify those as advertised will be there may be a way to answer the question.

rugcat
01-16-2007, 08:57 PM
I've also been to a good conference in Salt Lake (Writers At Work) three or four times.I can second that. I was once on a genre writer's panel there. (I used to live in SLC) They haven't attracted a lot of big name agents yet, but as a working conference for writers they do a fine job.

WriterInChains
01-16-2007, 09:03 PM
I went to my first conference last August -- free. It couldn't hurt to check into volunteering opportunities that could knock off some, or all, of the cost. Plus, I got to meet a bunch of cool people I otherwise wouldn't have -- both the folks at Willamette Writers & the visiting guests/speakers/etc. It was a blast!

I didn't sign up to pitch, I figured just going would be trauma enough, but I was surprisingly comfortable the whole time. I'm usually the one leaning in a corner watching everything, but I set a personal record for starting conversations - some with people who turned out to be agents/editors. It was one of the best experiences of my life. If you can manage it -- go!

Sassenach
01-16-2007, 10:43 PM
Ridiculously, absurdly overpriced! I checked out their site and I can't believe that anyone would pay $600 for this. It's a decent enough local conference, but someone has to be making money. And it's only 2-1/2 days.

http://www.sfwriters.org/pages.cfm?ID=5

I don't like that one of their sponsors is iUniverse.

Tish Davidson
01-17-2007, 03:33 AM
Tish - So you went to one that advertised specific professionals who would be there and they weren't? They were replaced by others in the industry? I wouldn't be happy about that since prepping to pitch to particular people. If several didn't show, one would wonder if they were ever going to be there in the first place. Maybe a refund via small claims court would be in order. I guess calling the conference to verify those as advertised will be there may be a way to answer the question.

Yes, many of the same agencies were represented, but not by the people who were advertised in the promotional material. I didn't pay for this conference. I won a writing contest and attending the conference free was the prize.