Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers has a critique workshop at the beginning of their Gold Conference that is hosted by one of the editors or agents attending the event. It costs $35. The other registrants of this workshop will critique your submission. Hopefully, by the time you’ve chosen to plunk down the coin for this little soiree, you will have had your copy critiqued to death, so that aspect of it is not necessarily beneficial, but, you will get more time with an editor or agent and if you believe in the getting-to-know-publishing-deal-makers approach to trigger the acquisition of your masterpiece, this add-on can help you achieve that. I know one author very well who snagged a deal with Kensington—a fairly big player—through one of these sessions. It’s one of the very few add-ons I believe offers value.
Now it’s time to get brutal.
Another conference that I attended offered an agent all-day workshop that was an additional cost, a hefty charge, to the regular registration fee. This fee was profit for the agent. Mind you, the other respectable publishing professionals who were attending the regular conference only had their expenses paid. Anyway, this special add-on workshop agent, high-powered, boasts quite a resume and I’ll leave the identity anonymous. Why does someone pay for such a workshop? Because they’re trying to get published, hoping to make a contact to pitch there in the hotel or later online. However, one of the conference board members who I know very well told me that this agent emphasized to them that (s)he was not there to pick up manuscripts! In fact, I was standing around drinking with said agent later and an editor poked fun at him/her by saying, “Quite the cult you got going there.”
A respected author acquaintance of mine got caught up in said ‘cult’, thought he was making headway, and one day the agent just stopped returning correspondence.
Sorry, fellow writers, but that’s the stone cold truth.
Lots of add-ons are just designed to make more money. It’s marketing. Publishing is, after all, a business and the income goes way beyond just books. Please remember that there’s a substantial how-to-write market as well. We live in a country of free enterprise, so I don’t really mean to vilify any ‘services’, but as a miser, I feel obligated to ask you to consider what you can get for free.
Conferences, played wisely, are not a bad thing. Go network, have fun, pick up some pointers, pitch your work, but most of all, keep one hand clamped on your pocket book.
Next installment: Banquets.
Happy Independence Day!
Happy Independence Day!