Writing Conference Day One: Awkwardness? Part of my charm.

The nerd in me would like to start off by saying, “I had so much fun today!”

So, I didn’t sleep well last night. I got an email at like, 9:30pm confirming, yes, the first pitch appointment of the morning with my selected agent was me.

Yay for lists made alphabetically!

Then I panicked.

I dutifully packed The Big Purse with an obscene amount of notebooks, a pen, a back up pen, a back up to the back up pen, a granola bar. Money, antacids. You know, all the things the responsible traveling writer might need. Charged my cell phone.

I was on the highway by 6am. I got to the venue by 6:19, so with registration starting at 8:00, I had a wee bit of time to kill. “Why not treat yourself to breakfast?” my snack conscious mind suggested. “Spend some time mentally preparing for the pitch.”

And what says breakfast of champions more than IHOP? Yay pancakes!

Now…now, I got married at age 20. I went from living with my parents to living with The Hubs. I never go out to eat by myself. So, I expected a certain amount of awkwardness.

I did not expect, however, an IHOP consisting mostly of people eating by themselves.

Granted, there were like six other people in there. There was an enormous postal worker loudly-loudly-singing along with Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.” Then a BBMac song came on the radio and…I don’t know, it was surreal. Weird. Weird, with lots of people eating by themselves.

I ordered double blueberry pancakes because a) they’re my favorite and b) I was wearing white jeans and I laugh in the face of danger. I spent zero time preparing for my pitch and like, forty-five minutes skimming Pinterest and chugging coffee.

There was still like, forty minutes to kill, so I paid my bill and went to the bathroom to primp a little before proceeding to the venue and awkwardly sit in the car before shuffling inside.

So, as I washed my hands, I casually smiled at myself in the mirror, just to make sure I didn’t have any blueberry bits stuck in my teeth.

My teeth were blue.

My delicious pancakes turned my teeth blue.

So there I am, standing in the bathroom in IHOP at 7am, scrubbing my teeth with a wet paper towel.

Mother of god.

Despite this, I headed to the hotel, sat in the car for half an hour and then headed into the hotel, where I assumed registration would take a substantial amount of time.

It took less than a minute.

Happily, I’m good at wandering around looking like I have somewhere to be. It’s a skill I refined when I worked in the city. I found the bathroom. I found all the rooms my selected workshops would be held. I rode the elevator. Twice.

The pitch session rules were specific: be there promptly 10 minutes early. I figured I should leave the first workshop early, so I could primp in the bathroom (read: make sure my teeth weren’t blue anymore) and get up there early. With this in mind, I decided I’d try and snag a seat in the back. I’m a professional Backrow Baptist, so this would be a piece of cake.


Apparently everyone else got there early too, so the remaining seats were in–you guessed it–the front row.


So, now not only am I “that weird girl with the blue teeth,” but I’m “that weird girl with the blue teeth in the front row who got up in the middle of the workshop and almost tripped over the projector when dodging a coffee cup.”


Happily, the agent missed all this awkwardness. Well, I mean, she got a healthy dose of my awkwardness when I gave my pitch. I talk fast when I’m nervous. I ramble. I oddly compared my book to The Great Gatsby. To be fair, I clarified this to her as because Gatsby was fatally flawed and so is the main character in my novel so…but yeah, other than that, my book is nothing like The Great Gatsby.

Then she asked me to email her my query. And my first 50 pages.

And my brain said, “Hoooooouuuuuurrrraaaaaaayyyyy!”

And my mouth said, “Awesome, thank you so much!”

Cool. Calm. Awesomely awkward. I think that may be my new catchphrase for my blog description.

The blind pitch panel was more terrifying, especially because no one in the hallway really seemed to have any idea what was going on and people were randomly milling about looking for a place to line up. I can line up with the best of them. And did.

When it was my turn, I got an invitation to leave my query letter and sample pages to an editor!!

Needless to say, it was an intense ten minutes and twenty seconds total. I admittedly shook for a bit afterwards.

I am so freaking excited!

And then I met Jonathan Mayberry, which was also really cool!! He’s really tall.

My gosh, guys, it was so much fun! I made some friends, I attended amazing workshops. And I got a request for a partial. I think that constitutes as a partial. Well, whatever it is, you know this gal will be paying close attention at tomorrow’s query writing workshop.

And won’t be eating blueberry pancakes for breakfast.



  1. Awesome. I’m sitting bed and crying with laughter. Sorry, I was hoping the blueberry sauce would end up on the white pants. Glad you had a great day in the end 🙂

  2. That’s so great that your pitch went well! I haven’t been to a writing conference in years, but when I did, the simple act of someone asking to see more of my work felt like I’d won the lottery. Good luck!

    1. This is the first Conference I’ve been to since I went to RT in 2008. I’m part of Pennwriters–it’s a Pennsylvania specific group. They are amazing! The conference will be in Lancaster next year. I can’t wait!

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