Sunday, January 10, 2010

How Writer's Conferences Resemble Speed Dating

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match
Night after night in the dark I'm alone
So find me match,
Of my own.
—Lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof

Attending a writer’s conference is one big speed dating party. It’s an organized form of matchmaking focusing on meeting a lot of editors and agents in a short period of time. Most writer’s conference events include short fifteen-minute ‘dates.’ Armed with a nametag, writer’s conference notebook, pitch sheets, and their sparkling personalities, writers pair up to an editor or agent to begin their first date for a face-to-face conversation.

After fifteen minutes, each writer plays musical chairs, moving on to meet his or her next date. Following each date, editors or agents decide whether they’re interested in talking with the writer again. If a writer and editor connect, the publishing professional provides the lucky writer with their contact information.

For many writers tired of receiving those dreaded rejection letters, writers conferences offer 'at-the-beginning-or-end-of-their-rope' writers a thin thread of hope. Writers yearn for a faster, less painful path to a lasting relationship.

A writer’s conference allows writers to:

  • Throw caution and their hearts to the wind, hoping to find the perfect match—someone to fall in love with their writing.
  • Enter the fast-paced world of speed writer dating, where they can meet up to ten publishing representatives in one place.
  • Sign up for three or four 15-minute dates.
  • Rotate around the room to meet and greet as many editors and agents as possible.
  • Give their 90-second ‘get to know me and my writing, are you feeling the love?’ spiel.
  • Trade business cards with hopes of an invitation to follow-up and establish a long or even short-term publishing relationship.
  • Rub shoulders with other lonely, understanding writers looking for Mr. or Ms. Right Publisher.
  • Meet—with no strings attached—other publishing professionals exhausted of the writer dating dance but still looking.

Are you an unpublished and an over 50 cougar? Never give up. It’s never too late to pursue your writing dreams. Attend a writing conference. You may find an editor who finds your writing attractive and falls in love with your manuscript.

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