It's very exciting to finish a writing project. This requires time and diligence and is a true accomplishment. Unfortunately, some of the most talented writers work for years to sell a project, be it a book or a screenplay and wonder why the success they crave remains elusive.
It's easy to feel that authors who are published know something secret. And they often do. They understand that who you know is sometimes as important as the project itself. They understand the power of networking.
Networking takes confidence, research and planning. But it can make a huge difference in your conference experience.
My best advice is to take advantage of every networking opportunity you can find. Scope out the agents and publishers you want to meet and take their classes. You can then hear their special offers. Talk with people in the café and sit next to the person at lunch who has something you want. Yes, it's Machiavellian, but if you want to get published, this is often what it takes.
I've taught ePublishing classes at the conference for seven years. I always say, "Let me know your topic and I will point you in the right direction of an agent or my agent." Guess what? About 10% take me up on the offer. Five of my students are now published and one worked with my agent. As a teacher, I'm impressed by networking. So don't be shy about networking. They weren't.
You are no different than writers who seem more successful than yourself. They wrote well (as I hope you do!) and then knew how to relentlessly network to get what they wanted. I've been in the publishing world for ten years and I know the big secret. Agents and published writers have to network as much as you do. So get out there, network at the conference and sell your project!
I hope to see you in class.
Julie A. Fast