Please read the following article and respond to the questionnaire to help us improve our services for our members!
Placebos and Placement
By Tom Spence
Wyoming Writers, Inc., yearly conferences always feature, among other presenters, editors and agents, available to WW members for “pitches.” Aside from the ten minutes face to face with these people who are satellites to, and connections with, the larger writing/reading world to which we aspire, these editors and agents have almost always offered good workshops of the “how to” sort, helping us to sharpen our approaches and skills when we venture away from the private incubator, and into the world we intend to astound. Naturally, from all of our presenters we expect good work-shops, and we usually get them.
Back to the “pitches.” Those ten minutes afford our members a unique opportunity for a brief connection to that other, larger world, which for many of us is remote, alien, threatening (particularly as our in-boxes fill with the rejection form-letters, or simply echo our heavy breathing). Ten minutes, face-to-face with those ambassadors, take on great significance for most of us, even the old hands who were rejected for a prom date, who always drop bait in the wrong hole on the ice fishing trip, and who buy raffle tickets as a civic duty, then immediately discard the stubs and by-pass the drawing.
Occupational cynicism aside, writers are occasionally hopeful. Each year we invite at least two of these fellow travelers (agents/editors) to the conference. I have never heard during the conference, or read on the completed evaluation sheets, any significant negative feedback about these ten minute tete-a-tetes. No one has reported that an agent or an editor said: “You gotta be kiddin’ me…, you and the horse you rode in on.” Undiplomatic honesty, or a bad-hair day, does not play well in their chosen professions.
While we wait, dream, and rationalize that the distance between a letter to the editor, and Oslo, Norway, is not that great, a few questions have not been surveyed to find out if our members benefited during the year from the initial contact with an agent or editor at our conference?
Would you respond to the questionnaire below? Copy and paste it into an e-mail and send it to wyowriters(at)gmail(dot)com.
Was your initial face-to-face with an agent or editor at a Wyoming Writers conference cordial and friendly?
Were you encouraged to submit further manuscript(s) or pages to the agent or editor to whom you spoke, or did she/he suggest an agent/editor/or publishing house for you to contact?
If you sent further material to the agent/editor to whom you spoke, or to a contact she/he suggested do you think the response you elicited was superior to that to which you are accustomed from a “cold in-quiry?”
If you submitted manuscript pages to an agent/editor whom you met at the conference did you get the feeling that because of the contact at the conference, your submission was read more carefully?
or read ?
or not read at all?
Did this agent/editor/publishing house representative, make a timely and thoughtful response to your submission which you might attribute to the WW conference contact experience?