Originally published July 23, 2015
By Brian Tracey
With ThrillerFest, a week-long New York City writers' conference, still in my rear view mirror and DFWCon just ahead, I've discovered everything I knew about writing conferences is wrong.
Like many writers, I approached my first conference with my perfectly practiced pitch and my carefully crafted manuscript just knowing that soon I'd be signing with the agent who would make all my dreams come true. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
After the devastating discovery that I, in fact, had no idea how to write, I became certain that the key to conferences was a focus on craft. I then packed my conference schedules full of classes. Point of view. Plotting. Character. Structure. I took them all. Craft. That was what it was all about. Still wrong.
It’s taken countless conferences from The Big Apple to The Big D, some serious trial and error, but I’ve finally figured it out.
Conferences are about finding your tribe.
It took several years before I noticed something about the people at these conferences who I'd met and grown to know along the way. They’ve become important to me. Very important. On the surface, they're not like me. Politically, religiously, racially, sexual orientation, you name it. We are different. There is, however, one characteristic that transcends it all. Something so personal, so profound, so intimate that all of those differences wash away. These people are writers.
And because they're writers, they know. They know what it's like. They know how it feels. They know the experience of having voices in their heads that won't shut up until the words appear on paper or on the screen, words that are sometimes rejected, bashed, and abused. Mostly, if not surprisingly, they want to tell you what it is like for them and they want to hear what it's like for you, even if they've already sold three hundred million books or they've yet to sell one. Because they know.
I hope you find your agent at DFWCON. I hope you improve your craft. But more importantly I hope you choose to reach out and go find your tribe. Because when you land your agent and when you improve your craft (and those are unlikely to occur in that order), your tribe will be there to cheer you on and help carry you to the next stop in this insane journey that those voices have driven us to take. They will do this because they’ve been there or they are there or they will be there.
They do this because they’re writers.
-- Brian Tracey, DFWWW Member since 2012
Full stomachs only enhanced the news from Workshop members. Harry Robbins announced the sale of his first novel, a fantasy titled The Bard Prince, to Books in Motion. Jenny Martin received three requests from literary agents for the full manuscript of her Young Adult novel Holy, Texas. Kyle White sold a short story to AlienSkin magazine. Books in Motion bought George Goldthwaite's second Western, Return of Sam Rache. Tricia Allen will speak at the Polk-Wisdom Public Library in Dallas on December 19 at 2:30 p.m. Her topic is using 'new history' in fiction.
Finally, everyone was reminded that the early-bird registration fee of $185 for the 2010 DFW Writers' Conference ends on January 31, 2010. Thereafter, the price increases to $235. Agent appointments are still available, but are filling fast.
Appointments With Some Agents Are Filling Fast; Early Registration for 2010 DFW Writers' Conference Recommended
For example, authors interested in pitching their books to Joshua Bilmes, Lucienne Diver, or Gina Panettieri had better register now. The slots for all three agents are over a quarter of the way full and going fast. Appointments with many of the other agents are also filling quickly. This is definitely a case where if you snooze, you could lose, so register early to secure your place in line.
Members were also told that the tenth, and final, agent had been named. Mary Kole, who represents children's picture books as well as Middle Grade and Young Adult authors, has been added to the roster. The agents attending the 2010 DFW Writers' Conference are:
Anne Hawkins | John Hawkins & Associates, Inc.
Gina Panettieri | Talcott Notch Literary Services
Joshua Bilmes | JABberwocky Literary Agency
Laurie McLean | Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents
Lucienne Diver | The Knight Agency
Melissa Shultz | Jim Donovan Literary
Paul S. Levine | Paul S. Levine Literary Agency
Victoria Horn | Liza Dawson Associates
Mary Kole | Andrea Brown Literary Agency
In other news, A. Lee Martinez signed the contract for the German rights to his upcoming novel, Divine Misfortune. (Those Germans sure do love his work.) Russell C. Connor has a book signing for his horror novels on October 3 at the Cat and the Candle Bookstore in Lake Whitney from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during Pioneer Days.
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Jodi Thomas, has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the 2010 DFW Writers' Conference. A native Texan, she is the award-winning author of several novels. We look forward to her presentation.
Eight literary agents have also agreed to attend the event, including Anne Hawkins and Gina Panettieri who missed this year's conference due to illness. Joining them are Joshua Bilmes, Laurie McLean, Lucienne Diver, Melissa Shultz, Paul S. Levine, and Victoria Horn. More agents may be added later, but the number of pitch sessions will be limited, so early registration is recommended.
The 2010 conference is looking to bring you more value for your registration dollars. We already offer free parking ($7 - $10 at other conferences), include the keynote luncheon (a $35 extra cost elsewhere), and the agent appointments (as high as $50 at other conferences). As an added benefit in 2010, on-line classes, such as "How to Get the Most from Your Agent Appointment" will be offered - you guessed it, for free (a $50 to $100 extra fee elsewhere). Join us for the best conference value in the Southwest.
The conference will be held April 10-11, 2010 at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Early registration starts soon. See the information box in the right hand column on this site, or get more details at www.DFWWritersConference.org.