Back in April, I attended Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference. It was a BLAST and a half. Great classes, great company, I really bonded with my critique partner, and published author, LS Hawker and her daughter. We had a great time.
The best part about the conference was the baby step I took.
As you all know, I’ve been writing for most of my life (I think I penciled my first story at six years old). To finally take a first step to getting my work out there was incredibly rewarding, and happened in two ways.
1. I stood up in front of a room full of people and delivered my pitch out loud into a microphone
2. I participated in an anonymous first page reading
In regard to item #1 above, my pitch was well received by the two published authors/industry specialists who were hosting the class, as well as the audience.
In regard to item #2, an editor from Ballantine books loved my first page, and even defended it when one of the other panelists said something bad about it.
OH, and I met R.L. Stine at dinner the following night, which was awesome. My friend Nicole and I geeked out over meeting him. We were a couple of fan girls for sure.
Now, onto RMFW’s Colorado Gold. I did enter the contest this year, mainly to get the critiques back, as I do every time I submit. But this year, I was an actual FINALIST in the mystery/suspense category!
The Colorado Gold Conference was a little bit of a let down as far as the class schedule went. I actually didn’t attend anything but LS Hawker’s first book panel. The rest of the time I spent practicing my pitch and editing my book.
I usually attend the full day on Friday, including the morning Master class, but this year I had just started a new job and didn’t have any time off to spare, so I didn’t get there until Friday evening.
Which was all I needed to be honest.
LS Hawker’s editor from Harper Collins was there. She sat at our table RIGHT NEXT TO ME. She asked, “What do you write?” And I told her, “Supernatural Suspense.”
I proceeded to tell her a little about my book, to which she replied, “I’m not sure if it’s my thing, but send it to me.” To which I responded, “What, like, the first few pages?” And she said, “No, the whole thing.”
It didn’t sink in all weekend that an editor from Harper Collins requested my full manuscript. In fact, it didn’t sink in for a while. Not until I hit send. Because I had so much work left to do. For the next two months (less than, actually), I sliced and diced and got feedback on and basically prepared my baby, Evil Never Sleeps, to be sent off into the wild world of publishing.
Now, don’t get all antsy in your pantsy just yet. Most of you probably know about the industry, but those of you who don’t know, this is obviously not a sure thing. This is, “let me take a look and consider it for publication.” The chances of me actually getting a publishing contract on a first time pitch to an editor at a major publishing house is very slim. But if it does happen (and most of my positive power is forced into that concept) I will have made publishing history. It’s a rare thing for a debut author to get a deal that quick and on the first try. So, I’m staying positive, visualizing success, but I do have a healthy dose of skepticism keeping me in check.
On top of that, it could take months to hear back from her.
Anyway, that is what has been happening in my life recently. I learned a lot with Evil Never Sleeps, and now it’s on to the next novel, tentatively titled, Photos in Darkness.
Peace and Keep Writing,
Claire L. Fishback