Three months ago, my writing partner in crime Maya, suggested we go to the SC Writer's Conference in Myrtle Beach. I was in full swing of getting ready for the Doll & Teddy Bear Expo, so another big event wasn't on my mind. She said that we could have our manuscripts ready (because agents and editors don't want to talk to you unless the piece is done) and go. Because I was in a daze, I said, "Sure."
Between dolls and finishing chapters, reworking other chapters, I managed to be ready for the conference. I was exhausted and glad that Maya drove. It was nice being in a different location and this was my second time to Myrtle Beach. And it has changed. But the great thing about it was that no one was there. It's the perfect time to be in a tourist spot. Off season. The streets were practically deserted, like in a zombie or post apocalypse movie. It was great!
Our hotel room was clean and we could see the beach, the sunrise in the morning. We were on the beach the first night with a full moon and the second night we watched an orange harvest moon rise. The sound of the waves breaking on the beach were very soothing.
Full moon rising. My pics of the harvest moon didn't come out but the memory will always be there. It was also wonderful being on the beach as the tide was coming in.
Up the beach as the sun set beyond more condos and hotels.
I took this shot of a palm tree because I hadn't seen one in ages and I like the textures of it. Myrtle Beach looks like a mini Miami.
The conference itself was at the Hilton. This is the ocean view. It took place over three days, the first being paid workshops. I didn't have any of those (Maya did), so I hung out by the pool and took everything in.
The second day started the basic conference schedule. My first session was a slush fest, where the first two pages of manuscripts are read and critiqued. The two people I were interested in having look at my work were the ones doing the critiques. I found something out. YA (young adult) is in three definite categories. Mid-Grade (ages 9-12), tween (13-15), and teen (16-18). I was not where I thought I should be. My manuscript was definitely mid-grade, so the people I was interested in weren't interested in my work.
I was a bit disappointing but I also picked up a few tips from that reading. I was not deterred. I had another workshop with and author, who gave a lot of good advice and a list of agents interested in what I had written. I was now thinking to 2011, to the Society of Children's Books Writers and Authors conference in Los Angeles. That conference would be geared to those writers, agents, and editors.
One workshop where I didn't garner much, the last one where I got some good info. Maya had her list of pitch sessions with agents and editors totally mixed up. Her last one was with a kid's agent and she asked me if I wanted to go in her place. I said sure, why not. I wasn't really prepared, wasn't dressed for it, and just shot from the hip. The agent was interested and I was expecting her to ask for a query but she asked for the whole manuscript. Maya said that my hand was really shaking. I was in shock. My toe is in the door. Still more work to do.
Now, I have to make sure it really flows and that there are no typos so I can send it to her. It's happening. Hard work is starting to pay off. Life is good.