Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bloody Words...

by Leanne Dyck

British Columbia is the place to be this year first for the Olympics, now for the hockey play-offs and last weekend for Bloody Words.
Bloody Words is the largest gathering of crime writers—and related genres—in Canada.
In one sentence, I loved it.

It was the first time I attended such an event as a published author. I had the opportunity to sit on a panel and meet with a literary agent. Both experiences took me out of my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I made the leap.

I know that many Decadent authors have a literary agent. I’d like to invite them to share something of their journey in the comments section.
Please, join me on mine.
At home, to prepare, I…
-asked more experienced authors for advice.
-used a search engine to research the literary agent I was to meet with.
-visited the Preditors and Editors site. This site lists agents and gives information regarding their legitimacy.
-worked on my presentation. This was the most daunting task. I wanted to represent myself fairly in terms of my past success, my current project and my future goals. I had a presentation time limit of fifteen minutes.
-gave my presentation to my writers’ group. It was forty-five minutes too long so  they suggested I revise it and use cue cards to stay on topic and cover the main points.
-cut fat from my presentation—reducing it to seven minutes.
-did additional research. Fearful that I’d forgotten something, I read writers’ magazines.
-developed questions to ask the literary agent.

On the ferry, sailing from Mayne Island to Vancouver Island, I rehearsed with my travelling companion.
Just before meeting the literary agent, I took ten deep breaths and remembered to smile. Thankfully, the literary agent smiled back.
It was a pleasure meeting with her. However, the meeting didn’t go as I had imagined. For example, she didn’t throw her hands in the air and shout, “Oh, my gosh, I’ve finally found YOU!” For another, she didn’t want to listen to my carefully rehearsed presentation. Instead, she wanted to get to know me. She did say, however, that she was pleased that I was so well prepared. So, I don’t feel that the time I spent preparing was wasted.
I was delightfully surprised at how well I conducted myself—smiling was easy and words flowed. Even without my cue cards, I was able to highlight my past successes, current project and future goals.
At the end of the meeting, she gave me her business card.
I had thought that meeting with a literary agent would be the end of a journey. As it turns out, it’s just the beginning.


Maureen said...

Well, that sounds pretty good, Leanne! It never goes like you think it will and even the most formal preperations often fall to the side.

They are people, just like us and they are looking for people they want to work with. Sometimes it's more the people than the projects.

I met my agent last year at the Columbus RT. I was wearing my pirate buttons on my name badge and the head of the agency turned to her associate and said, "We need more pirate stories."

;-) Well, I had pirate stories! A few months later, after a submission, I was offered representation. And no regrets!

Barbara Elsborg said...

YOu sound like you had a fabulous time, Leanne!!!
Sadly, all my approaches to agents were straight rejections, though that was a while ago. I did get a little bit further with Ethan Ellenburg but he said no as well. So I can't add any thoughts to yours!

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you Maureen and Barbara for sharing your stories.
Even though this literary agent was the first I meet with in person she isn't the first I contacted. That tally is now at twelve. I continue this activity--it's fun. : )

Shiela Stewart said...

Oh lucky you! I can imagine how nervous you must have been, but excited all the same.

I wish we had something like that in Saskatchewan.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Leanne and thanks for sharing your careful presentation efforts. I believe you are so right - it was time well spent because even in a "get-to-know-you" conversation you covered your essentials. Nicely done!

kathleen said...

Thanks for a sharing your wonderful experience, Leanne! I'm glad it went well. I wish you all the best and continued success.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Hi Shiela,
: ) You right I was very nervous. Thankfully, I had some herbal concoctions to help me cope.
I too wise Saskatchewan had a writers' conference. I'd be saving my pennies and packing my bags. : )
Bloody Words is usually held in Toronto. So, there is hope that it could visit the province of living skies.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you for visiting me here Creative Potager. And you are right, the time spent and the input of others helped enormously.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you so much, Kathleen. : ) May you soar on the wings of angels.

Amber said...

Your preparation probably made it easier for you to answer all her questions. You set a good example for others.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Thank you Amber. However, I didn't do it alone. I had the support of many informed, capable, talented and caring people--such as yourself.

P. Kirby said...

Yikes! The in-person pitch. It sounds like you totally nailed it, though.

We don't have much in the way of writer's conferences where I live, but if we did, I'm not sure I'd have the guts to pitch to a live person.

Author Leanne Dyck said...

Sorry, P. I just found this.
Actually, it's not as scary as you would think. She was professional with a capital 'p', but friendly. I advice all to go for it.