Yesterday, I attended a writer’s conference, something I don’t typically do. You know, because there are other humans there and that’s kind of a “no” from me. But, I decided a couple of months ago, that part of my commitment mantra for 2019 was to step out of my comfort zone. Unfortunately, that means, leaving my house.
Part of the conference allowed participants to meet with literary agents. These are the folks that, if they like your manuscript, will try to sell it to publishers. Getting a face-to-face with them is crucial because an email doesn’t quite translate the enthusiasm one has for their project. My first pitch was at 9:20. I would describe this experience as speed dating. Keep in mind, I have never experienced that phenomenon, but that is the vibe I was getting. The group waiting looked like they were going to their death. One woman was profusely sweating while others were mumbling to themselves. I am assuming that they were reciting their pitch, but maybe they were simply giving themselves a pep talk.
As we were ushered into the room, I managed to sit down without falling or vomiting. So far, so good. This particular agent was adorable and friendly. And once I began sharing about my book, all of the nerves simply vanished. It was simply a conversation and when I was done she blew me away with this statement, “This is exactly what I am looking for and you have set the bar so high for the other pitches I am hearing today.”. As she gave me her card, I may have said, “holy shit” several times. I felt like those women on “The Bachelor”, that get a rose. I wanted to hug her, but I felt like that might freak her out, so I simply shook her hand. I might have skipped out of the room. I also might have walked out into the hall and announced that I got a card….loudly. Probably not the most humble exit, but it isn’t everyday that someone in the industry tells me that what I am producing might be something that people might purchase.
My second pitch had a different vibe. I stammered and stuttered more, but she was still interested. I felt like a drunken clown at a circus because I was all over the place. She was out of cards, so she presented me with a piece of paper with her email address. So, I left two for two. I managed to not skip or announce that I got another card. I felt that maybe my last exit might not have represented my humble side.
What does this mean? It means I have a lot of work to do. Both told me to send the finished manuscript to them once it was revised, so I have a little leeway. The whole experience left me spinning. I went in with low expectations. I went in with the idea that I am simply having a conversation and the experience would just be another stop on my writing journey. I felt like Sally Field when she won an Academy Award and said, “You like me. You really like me”.
Honestly, I am proud that there was interest, but I am more delighted in my ability to walk through the fear of being vulnerable. It is just another affirmation to myself that everything is within my reach. I just need to be willing.