The MidWest Writers Agent Fest finished a week ago. This virtual conference held great sessions with agents, editors, and writers, and I'm still digesting all the information.
Three takeaways from this conference:
1) Although not all writers, agents, and editors like social media, everyone encourages writers to develop and increase their social media presence. The bigger platform that a writer has to offer a publisher, the better chance a publisher has to get money from an author's work.
2) Agents and editors are real people. Everyone that spoke at the conference is sincere, professional, and approachable. In addition, the agents emphasized the relationships with their writers--they believe in their writers and in what they do. The agents and editors want the writers to succeed because they will make money, certainly, but also because they invest time and passion into them.
3) I'm not quitting my day job, but this world of agents and publishing feels very time-consuming. To do this successfully, I'm not sure how anyone can do all this and hold a demanding job. Writing in itself is demanding, but add in social media, query letters, extra rounds of revision, and contract negotiations, and this feels overwhelming at times.
Certainly, the agents and editors were fascinating people to hear speak, but I would like to mention two people on the board of the MWW who spoke powerfully and whose passion in this conference was above and beyond what I ever expected.
Jama Kehoe Bigger's story is amazing. She spoke briefly about this, and she moderated all the sessions with patience and kindness throughout.
Also, Angela Jackson-Brown was another memorable, inspiring, and lovely author who worked in almost all the sessions. She has a silky, soothing voice, and one of the high points of the conference was listening to her read first page submissions. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard her read mine.
I will be following up with some agents in the coming months. More to come about this?