This week, I’ll be posting about the Kansas-Missouri SCBWI writing retreat this past weekend. First things first, it was an amazing event. While there, someone asked me about my priorities in going to a writing event. Do I go to meet agents and editors or my fellow writers?
Short answer: Both
Medium answer: I never pick an event if I’m uninterested in the editors or agents but I also take full advantage of the opportunity to network with writers.
Long answer: If you have the opportunity to attend an event with Karen Boss from Charlesbridge, go. Do not hesitate. Hock the silver. Just go. Everyone came away knowing how to improve their manuscript whether it was picture book, middle grade or young adult, fiction or nonfiction. She is a dynamic teacher.
But the editor/agent is only one opportunity. Because of my membership in SCBWI, attending events, and meeting my fellow writers, I have work published through:
The Institute of Children’s Literature
Young Equestrian Magazine
This may not look like much, but tally up my sales to each of the above and I estimate it would be 75% of my work. I didn’t make these sales because I met an editor or agent at an event. I made these sales because I met a writer.
One writer asked if any of us were interested in writing how-tos for our fellow writers. She sent our names to her editor.
Several times an author has told me about a sale to a particular magazine or newsletter. After hearing about these experiences, I pitched and made sales.
Another time a writer gave me the name and e-mail addy of her editor. I sent my application directly to the person who would do the hiring.
Yet another time I met a writer who later became an editor.
Not once have I made a sale to the big name editor or agent. I haven’t given up, but I also keep my eyes open for those other opportunities. You never know when you will meet someone who knows a guy or gal who is key to your next writing venture.