You’ve been to a conference, probably at great expense and some trouble. You’ve met a few agents and editors. And you probably got at least a couple of requests to follow up with a manuscript.
Now you’re home. And it’s time to follow up.
If not, why not?
Fear is a natural emotion. In fact, if you don’t feel any fear, maybe it’s time to be scared. Or at least, worried. When you release a work of art into the world, you’re putting yourself out there to be criticized. Or worse, praised. Can you handle both of these reactions? Because you’re likely to be both celebrated and disparaged. Remember, the Lord is with you no matter what. Once you know your work is ready, take a deep breath and press SEND.
Your dream agent wasn’t at this conference so you visited with a different agent who seemed excited about your work. Or your dream agent wasn’t available and you talked with someone else. Or your dream agent and you didn’t click with this project. Or…for whatever reason, you didn’t come back from conference with a request from your dream agent. But you came back with a request from one or maybe even two other agents. Your choice? You can work up another project that might attract your dream agent, or go with your current project that can seal the deal with another agent. Only you can decide if the project itself is more important, or if the agent is more important. Do pray about your decision. It is not one to be taken lightly.
At conference, writers often receive conflicting advice from other writers, agents, and editors. One may say, “Make the manuscript more romantic,” while another says, “Needs more adventure and a three-legged dog.” This is especially troubling because this conflicting advice is coming from experienced professionals. But remember, each professional is advising from her own perch. As an agent, I’m advising from the perspective regarding what type of story I think I can sell to any number of editors at top drawer publishing houses. An editor is advising from what will work for his publishing house and isn’t thinking about what will work for another line at another house. A writer will usually be focusing on pure story and craft. It is your job to take this advice and decide what market you want to target with your unique story, what group of readers you want to pursue, and which team of publishing professionals can take you to publishing success. The conference can help you discern this by giving you a chance to visit with us. Our enthusiasm about your work should help you overcome uncertainty. Please follow up with us.
Have you ever returned from a conference and not followed up on a request? Why?
Can you think of other reasons not to follow up?
What conferences do you plan to attend this year?
What is your favorite conference?