Last weekend was the Writers League of Texas annual agents and editors conference, held at the Hyatt Regency on Lady Bird (Town) Lake in downtown Austin (which explains the goose). Some thirty or so agents and editors presented and/or were pitched to by around 300 aspiring authors.
I went in Saturday morning a little before my panel, Kid Lit: One Hot Market, with editor Mary Colgan of Chronicle Books; agent Laurie McLean of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents; and Alice Tasman of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.
Cyndi Hughes and the rest of the Writers' League folks had things well in hand -- the registration desk was bustling, the timers for the pitch sessions were getting organized, and most importantly, there was coffee, fruit, and breakfast tacos in the agent/editor decompression chamber.
The room for the panel was packed and we had a lively and engaging conversation, covering topics from branding, to what an agent can do for you, to what excites people about children's literature.
After a surprisingly good lunch, I attended Jennifer Ziegler's panel (YA, YA, YA Not: How to Tell if your Book is for Adults or Teens or Both), with editor Mary Colgan and author Mari Mancusi, which addressed issues of cross-over books and what may or may not be appropriate for YA. Afterward, Jennifer and I had a fun chat about Star Trek and World Cup soccer and boys reading.
Sunday morning, Clay Smith (Literary Director of the Texas Book Festival), moderated The Ties that Bind: The Agent/Author Relationship, with James Fitzerald of the James Fitzgerald Agency, Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Agency, and author David Marion Wilkinson. The discussion ranged from the degree of agent involvement in the substance of the manuscripts to what happens if you need to fire an agent.
On the whole, the conference was exciting and exhausting. The Writers' League did a terrific job. And although I have an agent and am not particularly inclined toward the adult market, it was still very interesting to get the views of the adult agents, editors, and authors, which is often very different from those in children's literature.
Anyway, back to writing!