But the truth is … the chances of you snagging an agent are small. During your pitch, for which in many cases you have to pay extra beyond what you paid to attend the conference, the agent may ask you to send 30 pages. Or he may not. There are no guarantees. Or an agent giving a talk may tell all the attendees in her class to send the first ten pages if they think their manuscript is ready.
In either case, make sure your pages are stellar. You won’t get a second chance, unless the agent sees something in your story and writing that makes them ask you to rewrite and resend, but that’s rare.
If your goal is to meet and pitch to an agent, do your research. Check out the conference site and see which agents are interested in what you write. Figure out how much it will cost you to register, stay in a hotel, drive or fly, eat, drink, print business cards, and any other costs you foresee. Too much? But you really want to go?
Don’t give up. Look at other conferences that are cheaper or closer or near your Aunt Beth where you can stay for free. Once you begin to look at conferences that feature agents, you’ll find that a lot of the same agents appear at multiple conferences.
Listening to an agent speak is a good way to decide if you want to be represented by him or her. But if you can’t go, don’t think conferences are a waste for you. Check out the site for the conference, link to the page that lists the agents who are attending, read their bios. You’ll find out what they like -- and whether they are accepting queries. And if they don’t state whether they’re accepting queries, there will most likely be a link to their agency site where you can get that information.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~blogger, freelance editor and writing coach. If you’re looking for conferences or upcoming events, check out Helen’s site where she maintains lists of Events and Contests for writers. Both lists are updated weekly. You can also sign up for her free weekly newsletter, Doing It Write, which includes publishing news, links, and more, by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org