Thursday, September 1, 2016

Killer Nashville and Ambushing Agents

You may remember I skipped last week's post because I was going directly from the Killer Nashville mystery writers' conference to doing disaster re-build work in West Virginia. I want to tell you about both but to keep things reasonable, I'll just focus on Killer Nashville today. And, of course, your required dose of funnies.

Killer Nashville is a great writers conference. Great speakers, informative classes and panel discussions, wonderful networking opportunities, and a fair number of agents/editors roaming about and accepting pitches. If you want to read about the specifics, check our their website here.  I even got to meet megastar author Janet Evanovich.

She was a wonderful speaker and a very gracious lady.

But what I was really hoping for was to come home with a couple "invites" from agents to submit pages.

I was ready. I practiced my "elevator pitch" for six hours on the drive down, plus my follow up, in case anyone said, "Tell me more." I was signed up for one round table (eight authors each read two pages of their work to two agents who give pointers for improvement and maybe an invite to submit) so I knew I'd get to pitch to at least two agents, but I wanted to increase my odds. This was the year I was finally going to pursue, stalk, ambush...anything short of passing pages under the door of a restroom stall, I was game. At least that was the plan.

My first morning I found myself in the buffet breakfast line next to one of my top agents picks. I wished him a good morning and identified myself as an author in "full pitch mode".  I didn't have to be very skilled at reading body language to tell this guy was not open to pitches at breakfast. So I told him I wouldn't think of bothering him so early in the morning but I hoped when he saw me later in the day, he'd remember me as the author who did NOT ambush him at breakfast. Naturally, I never ran into him again.

Later that day (Friday), I spotted one of the agents who would be in my round table going into lunch and followed her in. Managed to sit right next to her. Perfect pitch opportunity. I waited until others were seated and we were starting our salads. Just as I turned to engage her, the writer on her other side jumped in. I guess that person had never heard of the quick pitch. She managed to monopolize the agent's attention through the main course and into dessert. turn. And the emcee got up to introduce our guest speaker.

My round table was Saturday morning. At least, I knew I've have my chance here. One of these agent was my first pick, the one I really hoped to get an invite from. I handed my pages to the moderator who handed them to the agents. And knocked a glass of ice water into my first pick's lap! So I got to read my pages to a woman sitting in a puddle of ice water. Not the circumstances I was hoping for. She was great though. Shivered her way through my reading, gave me feedback, and invited me to send her my first fifty pages. Yay! The other agent at the session gave me some kind words but said the paranormal element in my story made it a no-go for her.

By Saturday evening, I had just one "invite".  I'd be leaving mid-morning Sunday and I was feeling desperate. I roamed the evening mixer and spotted an agent I knew from a conference a few years ago. I plotted an intercept course, timed my stroll perfectly, and pounced - with all the subtlety of a water buffalo - but she very kindly gave me an invite to send pages.

Sunday morning breakfast. I was a little disappointed I hadn't done better in my pitch quest. I fell into conversation with a woman I didn't know while we waited for our toast to pop. Just small talk. I don't even remember how she came to identify herself as an agent but she did. I asked if I could do my quick pitch, she agreed, and I had another invite. Wow, I totally stumbled onto that one.

There was one more round table that morning. It was full but I decided to stop by and see if there were any no-shows. One of the agents there was the one I'd ambushed the night before, the other was on my hopeful list. I waited until I could see there would be no empty spots then I ran over, knelt between the two agents' chairs, and told agent A that I'd been trying to pitch her all weekend and that agent B was accepting pages from me so she should, too. No pitch at all. She laughed, gave me her card, and said okay.

So I came home with invitations to submit pages to four agents and I'm feeling like quite the experienced (if not the smoothest) conference pitcher. Now comes the hard part. Will any of them want to see more? Cross your fingers for me.

And since you stuck with me through all that - here are your funnies! (But just a few since I'm running so long.)

Some thoughts to ponder...
I can't understand why women are okay that JC Penny has an older women's clothing line named, " Sag Harbor ."

I think it's pretty cool how Chinese people made a language entirely out of tattoos.

My 60 year kindergarten reunion is coming up soon and I'm worried about the 195 lbs. I've gained.

If I make you breakfast in bed, a simple "Thank you" is all I need.....not all this, "how did you get in my house" business!

I think that last one could be the start of a great mystery, don't you?

I want this person at my next pot luck.

Who needs salad?

Okay, I need help here.
Who gets the "aw" for today?

This pair...

Or this pair? 

Vote in your comment.

Gotta run before this post gets too big to load. Thanks for stopping by. I'll be around to visit everyone as soon as I can. 

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, for my friends in the States. For everyone else - hey, have a wonderful regular old weekend.  See you next week.

Thought for Today: 

~ One must wait until evening to see how splendid the day has been.


Mason Canyon said...

All and all, I'd say you did well at the conference and you'll do wonderfully when they get your submissions. I think the breakfast server would be an intriguing start to a mystery. Now I know exactly what type of salad I want for dinner. Both photos are 'aw' moments. The top one looks so relaxed, while the bottom one looks like they are dead tired. Have a great holiday weekend, my friend.

Thoughts in Progress
and MC Book Tours

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, I'd say you did great! You scored several requests.
Think the second funny is the best.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Your conference sounds AWESOME! And it is totally cool that you got to meet Evanovich. Good luck with your pages. May all four of the agents be so enamored with your work, they'll soon be making pitches to YOU to let them represent you.

I love all of your funnies, and the second AWWWW gets my vote. (By a whisker.)

LD Masterson said...

Thanks, Mason...all around.

Alex - Thanks. And I liked that one too.

Susan - Ah, from your lips to God's ear.

Unknown said...

Your adventures in Crime Conference-land were hilarious and could be a book in themselves! Congrats on netting 4 agent invites, and I'm crossing my fingers you'll get more requests! I loved the funnies, and I vote for the first one of the "Awws." I'm really interested in your thriller now that I know it has a paranormal element, just like mine! Finding agents or reviewers when you have an unusual genre mash-up is kinda hard, but do-able. Good luck!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The second one is really awww.

Requests from 4 agents is really good. You made it happen.

DL Hammons said...

I admire your determination and salute the results. Way to work the crowd! I know it will payoff some day.

I vote for the first photo. Makes me sleepy just looking at it. :)

Weaver said...

You go, girl! I love that what you did when you were between the two. That was awesome!

Maryannwrites said...

Hi LD, so happy that you had such good luck at the conference pitching to the agents. I remember those conference days and the sweaty palms and the rapid breathing as I tried to find a way to talk to an agent or editor.

I love the first picture. What a happy pair.

And thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find your new site and your new blog. I kept going back to the old one. Silly me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi LD - first 'AW'!

But congratulations on keeping on pitching and getting there eventually - it must be a nightmare: but must be done ... and yes I'll have salad too! Cheers and good luck with those submissions ... cheers Hilary

Jemi Fraser said...

Love the first Awww the best! :)

Good for you at the conference! I'd be an absolute mess - no way am I anywhere near that brave. I've very impressed with your planning!!! Sounds like you managed to have some fun too :)

Karen Lange said...

Loved your story! Although it seemed rough going at the time, so glad it was fruitful for you. Cheering you on in the process! We learn something all the time, don't we?

Thanks for the quotes and smiles. Never thought about Sag Harbor that way. And won't ever forget it now. Lol It's great to see you! Have a good weekend!

mshatch said...

Ooh, you did awesome! I'm crossing my fingers for you...and I would NEVER buy a line of clothing for old bags called Sag Harbor. How insulting!

LD Masterson said...

Lexa - I wish I could write humor fiction but the good stuff you can't make up. Real life is always funnier. Ah, now we have to compare our paranormal streaks.

Diane - Thanks. Now comes the really hard part.

DL - (Should I admit how nervous I was?)

Donna - I'll admit that was my most brazen move. I surprised myself.

Maryann - You lost me? Oh good, I thought you had deserted me on purpose. I'm so glad you're back.

Hilary - Thanks. And I knew someone would go for that salad with me. Cheers.

Jemi - I really did. It was a fun conference.

Karen - Thanks. Great to see you again, too.

mshatch - Thank who you're calling an old bag you young whippersnapper. *grin*

Unknown said...

Glad the conference yielded results.

Mike Keyton said...

Full of respect and admiration for your persistence and chutzpah (is that the right word?) Something I'm sadly deficient in. Good luck, fingers and toes crossed.

kjmckendry said...

Congratulations on getting some invites! I think 4 is a pretty good number!

I absolutely love your thoughts to ponder, especially the last one! And while I said "Awwww" to both pictures, I think I like the first one best!

Have a lovely Labor Day Weekend!

LD Masterson said...

M.K. - Thank you.

Mike - Chutzpah is the right word and finding I actually had some was a surprise to me. Not my strong suit.

Kathryn - Thanks. Looks like "aw" picture one was the favorite. I loved them both.

Maria Zannini said...

My innate feeling for not wanting to bother people and finding an agent would be an epic battle. Ha!

I think you did well, but then I knew you would. I hope you're home now and relaxing.

Jessica Ferguson said...

Hey, LD - had fun hanging with you at the conference, and watching you in action. Remember, agents read blogs too! :) See you next year?


LD Masterson said...

Maria -Yup, it was a battle. And home, yes. Relaxing...?

Jessica - It was lovely seeing you as well. I didn't forget agents read blogs. That's why I didn't forget to mention how gracious and accepting of my clumsy efforts they were.

Sherry Ellis said...

I think you did well! I hope you get a positive response from at least one of the agents who are taking a closer look at your work.

Crystal Collier said...

LOL! Way to go, you! That was epic. That kneeling stunt at the end totally got me. Would you like to pitch for me too? ;)

LD Masterson said...

Sherry - The ones I talked to were all so nice, I think if you were pitching anything close to what they handle, they accepted the first 50.

Crystal - LOL, I honestly don't know where that impulse came from but it made her laugh and I think that alone got me the invite.