WriteOnCon may have only lasted two days, but it’s taken me almost a week to process everything that took place during this incredible online writer’s conference. Between live events, critique forums, essays by industry insiders, Q & A sessions, and discussions I feel like I got a crash course in the world of publishing!
A week before the conference officially began, I posted my query letter on the Young Adult Query Critique forum. As many of my readers know, I’ve been working diligently on my query letter for months, so it was a big step to release it into the wild. Overall, the response was pretty good. Readers commented on the layout, but I expected that because I opted for a less traditional query format. Much to my relief, the synopsis and story idea both received positive responses. Overall, the advice I received was very helpful and I think I made some good changes. Many thanks to those who took the time to read through my letter and offer suggestions.
Aside from multiple learning moments, I walked away from WriteOnCon with a little victory. On the first day, I participated in a live Twitter pitch event. Two editors from Spencer Hill Press were on hand to consider pitches of 140 characters or less. Not only did writers have the chance to pitch directly to editors, but there was the benefit of seeing their initial reaction to the pitch via video chat. On the surface, I found this terrifying, but the opportunity was just too good to pass up.
Thanks to Jennifer Eaton’s query letter critique, I worked on creating a stronger hook. Minutes before they opened the live chat, I made one last change to that hook and used it as my Twitter pitch.
As the event began, I watched the live feed with a knotted up stomach. What if they hated it? What if I set myself up for the ultimate humiliation? I had to keep telling myself that being a writer means having thick skin. Even if the response is horribly negative, I still believe in my story. Of course, there was also the chance that my pitch would be ignored altogether. Then, at the 4:57 mark, I got the shock of my life when they read my Twitter pitch.
I couldn’t watch the screen. I stared at my keyboard and held my breath as I waited for the response. I almost screamed when the first editor reacted immediately with “Oh, I like that.” She went on to request a query letter, which almost made me scream again, (I was in a public place when all of this went down, so screaming was not an option). The other editor was not impressed, but something I’ve learned over the years is how subjective the publishing industry can be. Instead of taking it personally, I respect her opinion. Regardless, I managed to pitch my book to an editor who loves muses. Seriously, what are the odds??
My happy dance moment can be seen on youtube, (it starts at 4:57). However, the entire event is worth watching as these editors hold nothing back and offer fantastic insight and advice on the art of pitching.
I have since sent a query letter, so now it’s all about waiting for a response. Even if nothing comes of it, I’m still immensely proud of myself for taking such a huge step forward. This entire experience has reminded me that good things can happen if I’m brave enough to take a chance.
Thank you to the organizers of WriteOnCon for offering such an amazing event!
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