The Conference Death Match of 2019

The Conference Death Match of 2019

I attended my first writer’s conference last weekend.

I know, I’m impressed, too. And boy, did I learn a lot.

I’m grateful I went. I met a lot of writers, had a bang-up hotel lunch, and had a crash course in traditional publishing. I met with an agent who was kind, very professional, and willing to tell me if I had a chance in hell getting the two books I’ve self-published picked up.

That answer, kids, is no.

She did outline a plan of action if I wanted to push the issue. Take both books off Amazon, change everything including the covers, and pitch them as new books. As I learned in later sessions, then it would be a matter of if an agent wanted to work with me, if a publishing house would buy it, and (if the planets aligned), it could be two years later before the first book returned to the shelf.

KLS-9 has already been on Amazon for two years. And … if you know me, you know I’m committed to keeping my cover designer’s memory alive. I won’t betray Vann; he was too good to me. The covers stay.

So that’s that, at least for Kerry’s saga. The whole series will be self-published.

Here’s the part of the day I bitched about on Facebook. The agent I spoke to was dynamite. The other three?

Lemme start from the beginning. The segment was called something like, “The Literary Voice.” Authors submitted the first page of their work, no name, just title and genre. The coordinator read it until two out of three agents raised their hands. She would stop, and the critiquing would begin.

That’s not how it worked. That’s not how any of it worked.

She would read, the hands would raise, and the “professionals” would criticize, rip up, and skewer everything that was submitted. One in particular would go so far as to make fun of the page in front of her. I will simply call her “N,” but — if you want to know her name, message me. No one should ever have to sit through a pitch session just to suffer abuse.

One of the writers (I’ll call him “H” because it’s his first initial and he was my hero for the day) calmly approached the table after the brutality ended and asked them why they felt the need to be so brutal. Two of the agents ran from him.

“N,” the potato-shaped lump of bitch, lost her temper in front of all of us.

“THIS is a cut-throat profession! You’ll sit with someone who’ll make you cry! You’ll sit with someone who’ll make you bleed! You just need to quit whining about it and suck it up! I am a professional!”


There’s more. She ranted and raved without lowering her volume or her blood pressure for over ten minutes. “H” stood there, very calm, and never once raised his voice. When he turned to leave, she came after him, still raving. He stopped, looked over his shoulder, and simply said, “No, we’re done.”

“You’re damn right we’re done!” “N” stormed out and we didn’t see her again. As for my hero “H” — I bought his first book. It was the least I could do to show my appreciation for how he stood up for all of us. Nice twist on vampire lore, and there’s no sparkling. I’ll share the review when I’m done.

Wow. Just … wow. What an eye-opening day.

Maybe, after Kerry has fought her last battle, I’ll pitch the Next New Thing to an agent. Or maybe I won’t. I’m old, I’m cranky, and I like being able to tell my story my way.

We’ll see.

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