Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Conference comments by Terry Burns
A number of faculty have been talking among ourselves about a trend we have been noticing the past couple of years, however. Signup sheets for appointments used to be packed, but lately, not so much. We've been speculating on why.
Some of it is probable the emerging ease of being able to take a book straight to ebook or to self-publish. I've blogged on that several times and have no problem with self-publishing as long as it is a business decision and not a knee-jerk reaction to the rejections that we all have to face. But it could be part of the trend I'm talking about.
At recent conference there seems to be a greater percentage of new writers and this might account for some of it. Often they don't realize you don't have to have a project ready to pitch to speak with an editor or agent. If someone sits down and says "I don't have anything to pitch but I do have a few questions" most editors and agents are fine with that as long as they know up front what is going on and aren't sitting there waiting for a pitch that isn't coming. Most of us enjoy a teaching appointment.
The numbers are smaller at recent conferences but the rules for handling appointments doesn't reflect the smaller number resulting in a lot of wasted appointment slots. This is a hard balance to hit, however, and still give people an equal shot at appointment time.
Great content in the courses and workshops is really good for attendees but it also makes it difficult for them to leave something they are really enjoying to go do an appointment , , , or maybe not schedule the appointment in the first place. This one adds to the number of times we are "stood up," and I get that.
These are some of the things we've come up with among ourselves. Do you have thoughts on it?