IWSG – Go to a Writing Conference

Well, I’m back.

And guess what? I survived the conference in the Big Apple πŸ™‚

Thanks to Batman who actually understands how to read a map (not kidding on my part) we managed to arrive unscathed but pretty sweaty to the Roosevelt Hotel, the marvelous and grandeur host of the 2015 Annual Writer’s Digest Conference.

Pause for effect:

Expensive. Glorious and expensive.

Expensive. Glorious and expensive.

Batman and I overlooking the common folk for once.

Batman and I overlooking the common folk for once.

Yeah, pretty sure they could smell the poor on us.

This has been a year of stepping out of my comfort zone. I like my comfort zone–who doesn’t? It’s super comfy (obviously), you know everything and everybody and really, it’s the safest place to be. But you don’t learn anything. You don’t grow. You don’t advance. And you also don’t do awesome things like surround yourself with a stadium of other writers who, just like you, are there for the same dream. And wow, what a thing to be surrounded by like minded people. Writers everywhere… could it get any better?

Important people talking about important stuff. I'VE MADE IT.

Important people talking about important stuff.

One of the COOLEST things was the diversity. Age, ethnicity, gender… all walks of life showed up, Β all passionate and eager to learn about the same thing. I chatted with a few 20-somethings and in one seminar, sat next to an 80-something old man scribbling notes on his yellow lined paper. Incredible, all of it. Especially the Pitch Slam session which turned out to be absolutely NOT terrifying at all.

For an extra $100, this opportunity allows you to pitch your idea to as many agents as possible in a one-hour session. It’s kind of like ultimate speed dating with agent-writers. Basically, you walk into a huge room where agents sit at tables that line the walls. A line forms behind each agent and you stand in it, waiting for your turn. When it comes up, it’s your timeΒ to shine and you and the agent get a TOTAL of three minutes to discuss your project. BELIEVE me it sounds scarier than it is. Honestly, it really is like speed dating–you’re just figuring out if the possible partnership has any merit. And, I’m happy to report that out of the 6 agents I pitched, 5 asked for material. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Does that mean I actually landed an agent? Of course not. But they have an (absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous) face to associate with a query, so it’s not as ‘blind’ and may survive being immediately thrown to the slush pile. Hey, any slight advantage helps, right?

Because I’m awesome, I snuck some pics:

WD Pitch sigh

Everybody rushing around to find the agent they want to pitch!

Everybody rushing around to find the agent they want to pitch!

Waiting to pitch!

Waiting to pitch!

Even if nothing solid comes like an agent requesting the full manuscript or hell, even an agent itself–this was still an incredible experience and I HOPE HOPE HOPE you all attend at least one writing conference if you haven’t yet. You realize how realistic your dreams are because they are. And you can do it.

You can do it.

You can do it.

So go and do it.


***Interested in hearing what I pitched? I’m updating chapters every week on Wattpad here.

Happy IWSG to everyone πŸ™‚ If you want to participate in this writing blog hop, check out the sign up list here. Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for making this possible!




34 thoughts on “IWSG – Go to a Writing Conference

  1. 39yearslame says:

    Wow, that sounds terribly exciting! I hope things work out with one of those agents! Even if I could get one of my novels polished up, I doubt I’d even have the courage to do something like that. Or the ability to talk without choking on my own tongue…

    • cgcoppola says:

      Oh, I thought I’d have a severe panic attack, but when you go in thinking they’re just human (like you!) it helps a lot. And don’t doubt yourself. If I thought I’d be doing something like this three years ago, I’d laugh at myself. I think you just have to build the confidence somewhere along the way. πŸ™‚

  2. Liz Blocker says:

    This sounds AWESOME. I know what you mean – I’ve been to a couple of writing conferences and it’s such an inspiring feeling to be there. Good for you, doing that pitch slam! I would have been terrified out of my mind. And huge congrats on getting 5 requests!! HUGE! That means your pitch rocks πŸ™‚

    • cgcoppola says:

      I think I won them over with my Hufflepuff lanyard. Everyone was given a standard black one and I brought my Hufflepuff one along (just in case) and Batman was all “wear it! wear it!” and each time I sat down with an agent, they commented on it πŸ™‚ Maybe we got some HP fans at the conference πŸ™‚

      But actually, it wasn’t really terrifying at all… it was kind of exciting. You get this rush of adrenaline, like “oh you got to four people? I’m aiming to hit at least six!” Everyone one was running around like crazy. Awesome, awesome fun!

    • cgcoppola says:

      This has been a year of stepping out of the comfort zone for me and so far… it’s been an awesome ride. Life’s too short to color only in the lines. πŸ™‚

  3. Uncle Steve says:

    Took some major boulders to put yourself out there like that, Cait. No matter what the outcome of the pitch slam, this experience, along with your talent and +outlook, will move you further along realizing your dream.

    Meatloaf sang ‘2 out of 3 ain’t bad’. 5 out of 6 is off the charts!!

    You slammed it, girl.

  4. chrysfey says:

    I’ve never been to a conference but one day I hope to go to one. This one looked very elegant and sounds like a wonderful experience. And way to go for doing the Pitch Slam. Major kudos!

    IWSG co-host Write with Fey

  5. melissamaygrove says:

    ‘Smell the poor on’ you. That made me laugh.
    (Not at you–because I’d be in the same boat. :P)

    I’m glad you had a great experience.
    Maybe once my kids leave home, I’ll be able to travel and do more of this stuff.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. πŸ™‚
    IWSG #119 until Alex culls the list again.

    • cgcoppola says:

      Anytime Batman and I go somewhere a little out of our realm, we look at each other and say, “they know. They can smell the poor on us.” And boy were we smelly in this place!

      But really you should go at least once. It’s so comforting to know other people can empathize with the same dream and struggles as you. It’s *quite* inspiring.

  6. Loni Townsend says:

    Woot! It sounds like it was a blast! I’m glad you enjoyed the Pitch Session, and that you got 5 bites out of it! That definitely goes to show you’ve got something going for you. I hope one of those turns into a fruitful venture!!

  7. Alexia Chamberlynn says:

    I love writing cons!! Like you said, being around so many other writers is great fun. Plus, we writers know how to party pretty hard πŸ™‚ I went to World Fantasy Con a few years ago, across the country (FL to CA) all by myself. I was SO scared. But then I made friends and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’m going to Dragon Con next month, which is not purely literary, but full geek πŸ™‚

    Congrats on the requests! I think 5 out of 6 is a great ratio!

  8. Lidy says:

    Wow, wished I could’ve been there. Writer’s Digest Conference is something I’ll have to save up for. But in the meantime will try to find local ones to go to. Great pictures by the way.

    • cgcoppola says:

      I only went because I wrote a blog about how sad I was that I *wasn’t* going and a family friend offered to pay for me. But I’ll be definitely looking for local/nearby conferences now on.

      Yeah, wasn’t sure if I was allowed to take pics during the actual pitch slam but I thought well… what the hell? πŸ™‚

  9. C.D. Gallant-King says:

    This is just full of awesome. Congrats on pushing your envelope. The “Pitch Slam” sounds like a lot of fun.

    And it’s nice to see from your photos that even in a fancy ballroom, writers are still showing up in shorts and t-shirts. πŸ™‚

  10. chemistken says:

    The excitement of attending a huge conference like that in New York must have been incredible. I hope you took a fair number of Tums before you entered the PItch Slam. Still sounds nerve wracking.

    • cgcoppola says:

      Believe me, I thought it was going to be one of the most intense hours of my life. And it actually turned out to be… fun. I think after a day of feeling totally supported and inspired, you have the attitude of “why shouldn’t I rock this? Look at where I am and how far I’ve come.”

      If I can do this, YOU can do this.

  11. Mason T. Matchak says:

    Okay, despite what I’ve said before about comfort zones, the thought of the Pitch Slam has me freaking out internally. I just had a job interview last week and that scared me less. Gah!

    But I’m glad you had such an awesome time, and you’re right, this is something I should look into. Thinking about doing this scares me, which means I should force myself past that and do something about it. >_<

    • cgcoppola says:

      How did the job interview go?

      My heart was RACING but once you get into the room, you’re like they’re just people! If they say no, or don’t sound interested, okay – not the one for me πŸ™‚ But I get the fear. I’m trying to eliminate it as much as possible from my life and so far, I’ve done things I never thought I would’ve had I let fear get in the way πŸ™‚

  12. TraceyLynnTobin says:

    I loved this post! It’s so nice to hear that you had lots of fun and a great experience at the conference. I would love to go to a conference myself, but even the closest ones are miles and miles away from me, so I could never afford to go to one. @_@ Maybe I’ll get to go when I win the Self-Published Book competition…ha ha ha. XD

    • cgcoppola says:

      I complained in one of my posts about not being able to attend and a family friend offered to pay for me. Believe me, if she hadn’t, I’d still be complaining. So I feel you on the money thing. But somehow I was able to, so you can to! Do you have self-pubbed book out? What genre? And I hope you DO win the competition πŸ™‚

      • TraceyLynnTobin says:

        That’s amazing that your friend helped you go to the convention like that! I really do hope to be able to go to one someday, but I’d have to not be working at the time since I can’t get time off when I’m on-shift.

        I self-pubbed a zombie apocalypse novel called “Nowhere to Hide” last October. I thought I’d submit it to the competition just to be able to say that I did, but it would definitely be awesome if I actually won something!

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