Friday, September 25, 2009

ACFW Conference 2009 - Day THREE

Me with new friend, Hilarey Johnson

You might want to grab a cup of coffee or Diet Coke because this is going to be a long one....

Well, Saturday was probably the best and worst day of the conference for me. Woke up again before the crack of dawn and went down to the lobby to get some work done and weed out some of the gazilion emails loading up my inbox. Grabbed another Starbucks on the way back up to the room to get ready for the day.

Breakfast was served to us this time - eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, muffins...let me just say, we had no chance of starving and every chance of gaining five pounds (which I did, by the way, but let's not tell anyone.)

After breakfast, we again headed to our Continuing Education workshops. And again, I skipped out (but remember, I will be getting the MP3's!). I wandered around, chatted a bit, and mentally went over the pitch I would be giving to an agent in a couple of hours.

So now comes the worst part of my experience.

I was scheduled for an agent appointment at 11:45, which was the last appointment before lunch. When I got to the "holding tank", I was told very nicely that it would be a few minutes longer because my agent was running behind due to another appointment that had run way long.

No problem.

The appointment-caller finally ushered me over and had me stand just inside the room, which was slightly uncomfortable because there were five pitches going on within a few feet of me and I felt rather awkward standing there. But, whatever. She assured me that even though my agent was running late, I would still get my full 15 minutes.

Three of the appointments left, but my agent was still in deep discussion with a writer.

I think this was the first time I actually twiddled my thumbs. Really.

So finally the other appointment ended and I walked over to the little table and sat down. I won't go into all the details, but let's just say that it's not so much that this agent didn't think my story was right for him/her (not telling who this agent is) but that he/she was pretty snippy in the way they declined it - and even got up after 6 minutes, while I was still sitting, apparently dismissing me. What was I to do? Continue sitting? Of course not. I got up, thanked her for her time, and left.

So much for my full 15 minutes.

I felt that this agent was bordering on rude. I had hoped that even if they weren't interested, I would still be able to talk a little and get some advice.

Guess he/she was a hungry or something. Maybe that's what happens when appointments are scheduled too close to lunch. Or perhaps he/she was just having a bad day. I can definitely offer some grace in this case. But still...not a great experience. Especially when all my friends seemed to have fabulous appointments with requests or, at least, nice conversation.

Wah. Wah. Wah.

OK, enough whining.

So while I bit back tears - NOT due to being rejected (I've had lots of experience with rejection), but how it was done - I debated whether to go to lunch. I decided to go because a) I knew if I didn't I'd be really hungry later and b) because meals are included in the cost of the conference and I'm dutch. I'm glad I went to lunch because I had a nice conversation with Sharon Lavy - what a beautiful heart that woman has.

After lunch it was on to more workshops. I tried to sit in on my first but had to leave because I couldn't concentrate. I went up to the room, prayed and cried, and felt better for it. :-) A good cry and a chat with God does wonders!

At 4:00, I went down for the booksigning. Over 100 authors were there to meet and greet and sign our books. Cool, right? I got a few signed and then went back up to the room to get ready for the awards banquet.

By the way, the bookstore generated enough proceeds to pay for 11 conference scholarships next year. WOOT! To give you an idea of how awesome this is, this year 6 scholarships, total, were handed out. The bookstore sales alone will send ELEVEN. So awesome!

Anyway, Roomie and I went down to the banquet a little early so we could get a first peek at everyone in their gowns and fancy duds. Here's a picture of Michelle and me before the banquet:

The food was great, the atmosphere was electric, and everyone looked gorgeous! (Just look at the above picture and you'll see what I mean.) :-)

Time for the awards...

At our table, there were five of us (out of 8) who were up for awards. Jennifer Griffith (who took first in the Contemporary Fiction category (YAY, Jennifer!). Megan Ebba took runner-up in the Speculative Fiction category, and Candee Fick also took runner-up in the Womens Fiction category. Unfortunately, my crit partner, Val Comer, who was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category, and I, a finalist in the Mystery/Suspense category, left award-less.

Val and I shared a pity-party hug afterwards, but it's ALL GOOD! I am a little sad and disappointed but the truth is I know my ms needs work and at the risk of getting blasted for using a cliche', it really is an honor just to be nominated!

Congratulations to all the winners! Follow these links for a complete list of winners in the Genesis Contest and the Book of the Year.

Oh - I have to mention dessert, because dessert is ALWAYS worth mentioning. They served us this delectable chocolate mousse cup with a slab of white chocolate with the ACFW logo on top. Is that sweet or what? Below is a photo of Heidi and me as we played Vanna and displayed our beautifully and artistically presented dessert.

Then we pigged out.

After the banquet, Michelle and I were beat and went up to our room for some beauty sleep (not that we needed it, as you can see by the photos).
So that ends my last full day at the conference.
Tomorrow, I will post about Sunday and then on Monday, I'll blog about my conference after-thoughts (because I know you'd love to know!)
Til then...


Lisa Buffaloe said...

Love the first photo. Waiving to Hilarey!!

I'm so sorry your appointment wasn't good. Sending a gentle poor baby cyber-hug your way.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Aww, aside from that appointment, it sounds like you had a great time. :)

Pat said...

I feel deflated. The hugest part of those conferences are to meet agents and give your pitch! Isn't that the draw of the conferences besides learning something? I think I would send a kind note to the agent of your 'experience' reminding her of who you are and how you would have appreciated some insight into your manuscript instead of a 6 min look-over and a dismissal.

You paid good money and hours of nervous-time over this conference just for a chance for someone to look at your script.

Sometimes they need an attitude adjmt too, ya know.

I'm miffed. I don't care who they are.

Huggies anyway,

Lynda Schab said...

Aw, thanks Pat. This editor came highly recommended. I think he/she is just obviously not a good fit for me. Grace is definitely required in this situation. :-) Thanks for the hug. I needed it.

Dara said...

I think I'd have been incredibly irritated about how the agent treated me. Granted they were probably crabby because of the pitches that went over...still, it would've been a bummer. I think I probably would've cried right after--being the uber emotional girl I am.

Then again I'd probably wouldn't be brave enough to even attempt an agent pitching appointment.

It still sounds like a wonderful time besides that part :)

Diana D said...

Well good for you and your attitude of grace! I'd have socked her. ;-) Glad to hear you didn't take it personally!

Have loved reading these posts... I could taste the lattes and all!