Write!Canada 2010

   Posted by: Faith   in Write!Canada

Today is Day One of Write!Canada 2010, a writing conference in Guelph Ontario that runs until Saturday evening. I went last year, and had a great time — I learned a lot, met some great people, and talked to a few authors and editors who had excellent advice concerning the questions I asked.

Last year, I also brought in a one-sheet, business cards, a binder full of work for the display table… it was my first writing conference, and I wanted to be prepared.

This year, I’m going in a little differently. I’ll bring the business cards left over from last year, but I’m leaving the one-sheet and the binder at home. They advertise my web content writing, something which I’m not actively seeking out more contracts for (I’m just taking the work that carries over from my husband’s business).

I also don’t have any meetings scheduled with the authors/editors/agents who are going to be there. Last year there was space for me to sign up when I arrived, which I did at the urging of other attendees who’d been there before. I got some great advice, but I had really specific questions to ask.

This year, no questions immediately spring to mind, and though I had time to schedule meetings beforehand, I didn’t. Is that a waste of resources? I’m not sure. I don’t think any of the agents there are particularly interested in what I write — I believe they all represent clients who write CBA fiction/non-fiction, with perhaps one or two exceptions, and even those exceptions don’t take my kind of work.

I’ve heard people say “just make an appointment and use it as a practice pitch run!” to which I say, isn’t that just wasting the agent’s time? What if someone has a book to pitch that might seriously fit the agent/editor’s list, and I’ve filled the spot with my “rehearsal” pitch?

So this year, I’m going in without anything ready. I don’t even have an elevator pitch to stand on (which is bad, I know) but most people here are writing CBA stuff. I know I’ll learn TONS from the workshops and plenaries, but in the end, this is going to be a learning conference and not a ‘doing’ conference. I realized too late that perhaps I should have signed up for the RWA conference instead… since there’ll be lots of people there writing in my genre(s)… but I think that’s what I’ll do next year.

Write!Canada has a lot to offer, and I hope to share some of what I’ve learned on the blog over the next few weeks. But ultimately, I plan to take it easy and just absorb & learn from others. Maybe that’s crazy — maybe I should be running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get ready to pitch or creating synopses, or whatever — but I’m trying to take the path of least stress this year.

Next year? I can go nuts.

How do you approach writing conferences? Have you ever been to one, and if you have, did you take advantage of all the appointments/meetings/critiques available, or did you allow yourself some breathing room?

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 17th, 2010 at 2:59 pm and is filed under Write!Canada. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 comments so far


Good luck at the conference! That’s so neat that you have business cards. I’ve got to get me some of those. It’s nice of you to let the other conference goers time with the agents if you know they won’t be interested in your genre. I think it’s the best thing to do in a situation like that. I can’t wait to hear what you learned!

June 17th, 2010 at 3:18 pm

I look forward to hearing what you learned, too, since I can’t be there myself this year. Usually I try to take advantage of appointments, and last year I did submit something to the critique service (I still haven’t gotten around to revising the piece, though). But I’m with you – if I don’t have anything specific to ask, and the editors/ agents aren’t interested in the type of work I’m doing, I’d let others take advantage of those talking opportunities. Let me know how the plenaries are, and if it might be worth my purchasing the CDs. Have fun, and enjoy all that awesome food!

June 17th, 2010 at 4:29 pm
Barbara Ann Wright

I’m also going to a conference soon, but I do have to pitch and am freaking out!!!

June 18th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

I’ve been to a few writing conferences in my time…and there’s NOTHING wrong with going to learn. There’s a time to soak it all in, a time to write, and a time to put it out there and try to get it sold. I think too many people rush the process to get to that third step and never fully enjoy the first two parts.

June 19th, 2010 at 12:24 pm