rdpulfer

First World Fantasy Convention

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I'm going to the World Fantasy Convention in Washington DC in November.  I'm more or less a complete newbie, which is why I'm ever thankful for the Writing Excuses podcast. I'm currently on the second draft of my fantasy-mystery novel. Mainly I'd just like to network with some fellow fantasy writers, though I wouldn't mind the chance to pitch my book to agents and/or editors. Does anyone have any tips on what to expect? This is pretty much my first literary convention, so I'm a little on edge  :blink:

Edited by rdpulfer
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Firstly - I have no idea!! I've never been to a convention. There's a very good cast in the Writing Excuses back catalogue on cons and editors, etc. - some good sound advice. Let's see - Season 3, Episode 9 is all I've come up with, I thought there were more.

 

Anyway, my main reason for posting was to say that there is a thiriving Writing Group on this site in the form of Reading Excuses, if you're interested in submitting material and getting critiques.

 

Within RE there is an alpha readers thread if you wanted to enlist someone for a complete read through.

 

There's networking aplenty on RE, albeit it online.

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Thanks Robinski,

 

I'll think about looking into Reading Excuses. I've already had two alpha readers - I'm waiting to see how my alpha reader search goes. I'll definitely give it a look! 

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Hi--sorry I just saw this post.  I don't know if you're still intending on going to WFC, but as someone whose been there before I'm happy to help answer any questions you have.  WFC is definitely more industry-centered than some of the larger fan cons (think Worldcon/Dragoncon).  The good news is that there will be a high concentration of editors and agents AND authors with a smaller number of fans.  If you want to talk to authors there is a large signing generally on Saturday evenings where everyone shows up, but you can also go to panels they are on and then ask them afterwards if they have time to talk "some time".  The "some time" is what I picked up from the Writing Excuses episode mentioned above.  A lot of authors will have engagements planned with agents/editors as well as networking with other authors and additional panels so mobbing them right away is a losing strategy.  But a lot of authors will be happy to meet up later in the bar or at another "party" in the con hotel.

 

For agents/editors, you can search the attendee list on WFC's site, then look at the panels and find out where they will be.  You won't be the only aspiring author there, so as soon as the panel is done make your way up there and do the same thing:  introduce yourself, you're an aspiring author, and you'd like to know if they have time to talk "some time".  I  did this with several agents at WFC and they all let me know when they would be in the bar area.  Then you just meet up with them there, re-introduce yourself (again, you won't be the only one so you have to be a little forward and expect they might not really remember you).  I suggest having a few questions to ask them:  what's the business like these days with amazon, etc., what projects are they working on currently, what has them excited, how did they get started, what clients are here, etc.  At some point they will ask you what you write (they know you aren't there just for the polite conversation) and this is where you hit them with your pitch.  First give a very brief background on yourself, your writing history.  Then, follow the WE episode advice, but really you need a 15 second pitch (probably won't use this) and a 30-60 second elevator pitch.  I'd probably plan to have an "out" if you finish and they don't ask to see something, but really I didn't have that problem.  Most of the aspiring authors I saw ignored all the WE advice and cornered agents and talked for 30 minutes about their novel.  DONT DO THAT!  Give your pitch on why this is unique, but awesome/exciting and if you've practiced it enough beforehand (make it natural not a speech), you'll likely get a request for partial/

full submission.  Then you can talk a little longer and thank them and move on to the next.

 

Few last bits of advice:  make sure your novel is perfect--you have no more edits.  You will likely get requests because instead of being #103 of 200 queries that day you are #3 of 20 for the whole weekend; so if you can't deliver you've just started off on a bad foot.  I don't have an agent yet, but I do get routine requests for full ms's and I have a core group I always query and two of them remember me and my past books and it goes all the way back to that first conversation over a beer.  Which is another bit of advice, if you don't drink that's fine just grab a coke or water, if you do drink only have one because your adrenaline will be through the roof and if you have a few it's going to go downhill quickly.  So in summary:  ask them if they have time to talk some time, have your pitch perfected, and have a great time!

 

I love WFC, I enjoyed it much more than Worldcon.  Let me know if there are any other questions, I'm happy to help.

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This is great advice, for someone like me who's never been to a con - thank you. There is no substitute for experience.

 

Maybe some year I will pluck up the courage!

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Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I highly recommend attending cons if you're serious about becoming a published author and in it for the long haul. The community is small enough that if you attend a few times and speak with same agents/authors they will remember you and that can only help.

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Thanks again. I'll try and start closer to home. I remember WorldCon came to Glasgow once upon a time, but I was only pootling around hobby writing and not serious about it, but I'm sure I can find something in Scotland and the UK to cut my teeth on, there are so man cons these days.

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