A reader asks:
Hi Jessica. Thanks for this opportunity. My question is this: “How often does a connection via a conference lead to representation.”
I am weighing my options – more conferences, classes, etc and how to optimize my chances at obtain an agent.
This might be an interesting poll for the blog. I can’t say for sure that I know the answer. I think it’s rare for an agent to walk away from conference pitch sessions with a new client. I can’t count the number of times we’ve all come home from a conference excited to see something that was pitched to us and then find the book doesn’t hold up to the pitch or worse, the author never even sends the book.
The biggest benefit of a conference comes to those authors who are comfortable networking or just talking to other people–authors, agents, and editors. While you might not walk away with an agent, you will likely walk away with more knowledge of individual agents (do you like them, what’s the gossip surrounding them, do they seem like someone you could work with). You’ll also walk away with a new network of author contacts, people with agents they might later refer you to or be able to give you insight into.
If you’re debating between conferences, classes, etc, you have to do what you feel comfortable with, but at some point in your career, the only way to know if a conference will do you good is to try one out. I don’t think it has to be a big one like RWA-National, WorldCon, Bouchercon, or the like. Try a small local conference, especially if you find out an agent you admire might be there.
Thank you for your question. Hopefully, I’ll see you at a conference one day.