I was attending my first ever writer's conference. My goal of this conference was to make an agent fall madly in love with me and my novel. Months earlier, I'd entered my ms, DEADLY SPLENDOR, in the conference's writing contest. As I was handed my registration and welcome packet the day the conference started, I was told that as a finalist in the writing contest I'd earned an extra pitch session as well as the opportunity to sit at the editor's and agent's table during the award luncheon.
Yes, yes, lovely, extra pitch session, agent's table, okay. Not important. Not if my pitch wasn't brilliant, which it wasn't. My focus was to perfect my pitch before the next morning, before pitch time.
I couldn't afford to stay in the hotel, and I lived 45 minutes away from the conference, so I'd leave the conference late at night, get a little sleep...
...then be back on the road, returning early the next morning. I arrived at the conference on Saturday morning after a nervous night's sleep, ready to pitch my heart out.
I was scheduled for three three minute pitches and one ten minute pitch. Back to back to back to back. My nerves were shot. But that wasn't the end of it. Directly following my last pitch, which ran over, I had a query class taught by an agent who wasn't taking pitches. We went around the room, sharing and critiquing our queries, and when it was my turn, the agent said she hadn't received my query. Therefore, she hadn't critiqued it. Broken heart in my throat. "But," she'd said, "Go ahead and read it to me."
I did. I read my query in front of a room full of people and a very impressive agent. Do you realize how scary that is? She asked for the manuscript. :)
Directly after the query class, was the awards luncheon. I had totally forgotten to freak out about it! Not only was I about to find out if I'd won and then stand on a stage in front of a bunch of people, but while I waited for the YA division to be called, while I bit my nails off, I'd be sitting among agents and editors. Yes, I asked if they served wine.
And no they didn't.
Turns out, out of that whole crazy morning, sitting at the big round table right beside the stage had been the most relaxed part. They mostly chatted among themselves about their recent travels and personal lives. I think a couple of them didn't even know I was an author until my name was called. Ha! And of course when I returned to my seat with an award they all congratulated me. I didn't end up pitching to any of them during that lunch, which was a relief to me and probably them too. ;) And I had a great opportunity to chat with the two professionals I sat between, both of which had requested my manuscript earlier that morning.
SO there's my story of the crazy whirlwind day I ate lunch with a table of editors and agents. :) Do you have any similar experiences?