Writers Digest Conference is a conference that takes place in New York City every year and this year it was at The Roosevelt Hotel. It consists of three days of workshops that run from 9am to 7pm with some breaks in between as well as a selection of workshops to choose from hourly. Writers, editors, publishers, authors(New York times best selling and very accomplished), and the aspiring writer.
Who knows what to expect when you come to New York-the capital for writing and publishing. I had concerns that I would be spending three days with pretentious writers way more accomplished than me feeling like I'm out of my league. And then a question, "Why did I sign up for this again?"......
We also have the option to sign up for a "Pitch Slam" where it's 90 seconds to pitch your book to an agent. Again, this could be miserable if the agents are harsh and just getting down to business with zero empathy.
Well, good news AGAIN for New YORK because none of that was the case. The speakers, authors, editors, and agents were completely down to earth and nice. When it came to agents, they were helpful with steering your pitch in the right direction rather than saying, "No, next." My book that I am pitching is "Memoir" and that is one of the hardest to sell because everyone has a story, but I have not just "any" story. With my analysis, I kept them very interested with plenty of questions at the end and business cards in my hand. Score for me and Score for New York!
Those who are editors or agents have thousands of submissions and people always trying to pitch them, but they were super approachable. They had their "agent" vibes of course, but they were way more mellow than how most in the industry can be. Same with the authors who answered my millions of questions about publishing and editing! Thanks girls!!!
Being in the conference for three days, I met a wide variety of writers from all over the country with a diverse background. One man published three poetry books, another writing since the age of seven and has 15 unpublished manuscripts(she is 22 years old), one lady writing about martians and outerspace, another about teen romance, one a travel cookbook- a whole lot of FICTION. It's fascinating how creative the mind is and how people go different places.
With over 500 people, it was common to still run into the same people over and over. We shared our story, read out pitch to one another, went for lunch, etc. We bonded and it was fantastic. By the end of it, our minds were overloaded with Query letters, proposals, synopsis, sample chapters, the first three pages, the content editing, marketing platform, scene creation, and so on.
People do not understand HOW MUCH GOES INTO WRITING, EDITING, AND PUBLISHING A BOOK. It is an extremely challenging process and even I was naïve to the fifty drafts and ten rounds of editing and selling yourself before the book-there are reasons for these big writing conferences-us writers definitely need all the help we can get-especially those who are just starting.
Priscilla CL Raj is a Therapist, Missionary, Writer, English Teacher. She is an enthusiast who is passionately purposeful in her life.