Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Flying High After Attending the Gold

Even though I have a million things to do now that I'm home, I feel the need to blog about this most awesomest conference EVER before I get caught up in the whirlwind that has become my life. Ha!

I've been attending the annual Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference for the past 18 years. Well, I actually missed last year's conference when I was having a hard enough time just finding two nickels to rub together. This year I opted to go into debt to make the trip and it was totally worth it.

The Gold has something to offer all fiction writers regardless of what level of writing they have achieved. My main goal this year was to reconnect with writing friends I've known for nearly two decades, and to share my latest accomplishment with them. Everyone's kind words of congratulations warmed my heart and fueled my motivation to be a better writer.

I made many, many new friends, too. I have no problem approaching people I don't know and introducing myself. I consider every individual as someone interesting whom I'd like to know better. So conferences like the Gold are the perfect venue for that. I was a social butterfly all weekend. The evening parties in the bar and hospitality suite did take its toll as I've never talked so much in my life. Because I work at home, I hardly ever talk at all, so my vocal chords were unused to the extra work. However, it was a great reason to lose my voice, which was only temporary anyway.

Though my fabulous agent, Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, was unable to attend for personal reasons, her associate agent, Rebecca Strauss, was at the conference and she's amazing. Polished and professional, Rebecca charmed everyone she met, including me. She was gracious and helpful to all, which was no surprise. I hope she's able to find a few new clients from the pitches she heard because The McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency is a phenomenal agency that focuses on building a writer's career. A few weeks before conference, I interviewed Rebecca for the Chiseled In Rock blog.

I met a lot of fascinating agents while I was there. I really enjoyed getting to know Weronika Janczuk, an agent with Lynn C. Franklin Associates in New York. She's full of energy and enthusiasm. I think you could name just about any book, especially if it's YA, and she's either read it or knows about it. She's actively building her list and is open to just about anything, though she's not too fond of funny or overly light books, and doesn't enjoy heavy literary fiction. If you're looking for an agent to represent your YA, she's your girl, and her track record is impressive. There's a great spotlight about Weronika (pronounced Veronika) at Literary Rambles.

I didn't attend many of the workshops. Social butterfly, remember? But I went to at least two a day, and bought CDs of the ones I wanted to attend but didn't get the chance. I got a lot out of literary agent Sarah Megabow's "Bang! Zoom! Pow! Those First 30 Pages and Why They are so Important." She's a fabulous speaker, very entertaining, and really knows how to get the point across. I learned a few things that I intend to apply to my as-yet-unpublished MYSTIC TAXI manuscript.

Speaking of MYSTIC, I wished I'd had a chance to pitch the book to Moshe Feder, associate editor at Tor Books. He's apparently looking for steampunk because he asked to see at least two steampunk manuscripts that I'm aware of. I'll be sure to let my agent know about this for when MYSTIC goes back out on submission.

Oh! Before I forget, I should also mention that the Friday night conference book sale and signing was amazing. KNIGHT'S CURSE sold out! Woot! I had a few books packed in my suitcase and Who Else Books at The Denver Book Mall now has them if anyone wants a signed copy.

If you've never attended RMFW's Colorado Gold Writers Conference, mark your calendar for next year. Seriously. This conference has helped launch the careers of dozens of successful authors: Robin D. Owens, Diane Mott Davidson, C.E. Murphy, Mario Acevedo, Jeanne Stein, and many, many more. If you attend this conference, you very well could be next.


Anne Francis said...

Wow, the conference sounds great. I took a Webinar with Sara Megibow several months ago. She rocks. I also enjoy her monthly column at Romance University.

Naked Editor said...

I'm flying high too! Right into a 2 day nap.

Absolutely fabulous conference this year. In the past I have only been able to afford the awards dinners and sneeking into the hospitality suite to chat the night away. Which was fun, don't get me wrong, but this year I got to hear the presentations and workshops.

Like a bunch of fires being lit under my butt from all of the support coming out of that conference.

Fabulous group of people. In what other industry is there SO much support for fellow writers/editors/agents?

Next year I might have to get a few more nickels and dimes together to head out for RWA nationals...

Thanks for posting this Karen!

Karen Duvall said...

Hi, Anne! Yep, it really is an awesome conference. I heard about Sara's webinar and wish i could have attended. I'll have to check out her monthly column at Romance University.

Karen Duvall said...

Hey, Tiffany! Thanks for visiting. I enjoyed meeting you at the conference. Oh, yes, I also want to get to RWA Nationals next year. It's on my birthday, it's on this side of the continent so will be a more manageable trip, and I'd love to attend the Harlequin party, which I hear is fantastic. Plus, if my editor is there, all the more reason to go. Perhaps I'll see you at Nationals next July! :)

Chris Devlin said...

Thanks for the write-up and the info about Weronika. Always great to hear about agents who rep YA. Every session I attended was great--Sarah Megibow is always terrific.
Hope to see you again, and in the meantime, there is the internet.
(The captcha: 'auspin', to put a positive spin on all things Austin.)

Karen Duvall said...

Hey, Chris, thanks for stopping by. I'm so thankful for the Internet, otherwise I'd never get to visit with all my friends. It was great seeing you this weekend! :)

Lisa Albert said...

I adored MYSTIC TAXI when I read parts of it!! Go, Karen, go!

Thanks for the agent updates, too. I'm taking notes for my to-query list.

Congrats on the success of KNIGHT'S CURSE! Can't wait to read it!