I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Willamette Writers Conference brochure. The website (see my list of favorites) now lists the workshops offered as well as agents and editors who will be present.
For anyone located in the Pacific Northwest who has writing aspirations I highly recommend this conference. Not only are the workshops fabulous, but it offers the opportunity to pitch your project to agents and editors. The screenwriting track gets stronger every year and Hollywood types attend in abundance. Agents and editors cover nonfiction and all genres of fiction.
I've pitched a couple of times -- not as scary as expected -- and was asked to submit. I didn't pitch anything last year. Not sure what I'll do this year. My Christmas story for Middle Grade (MG) readers is a hard sell because it's seasonal. My Young Adult (YA) story from the viewpoint of the reluctant horse on quest includes "talking animals" which, apparently, are not popular among the literary crowd. Although, the red mare in question isn't a cutesy animal but an equine with attitude who would rather be home eating well instread of encountering fantastic creatures on quest. And my current YA desert adventure project isn't yet completed and in horrible first draft shape. So....
The great thing about the WW Conference is that the agents and editors are encouraged to spread out during the lunches and you never know who you will be sitting next to. A couple of years ago I shared a lunch table with Andrea Brown, a well-known agent (I have since learned) who specializes in fiction for young readers. So attendees may have more opportunities to talk up their work than expected.
The workshops are offered in tracks (nonfiction, general fiction, genres, young readers, screenwriting, etc.), but attendees are free to sit in on any workshop that interests them. Some workshops are repeated over the 3-day conference. The presenters are patient with newbie writers and most are honest about the business end of publishing.
And the conference provides the opportunity to hang out with people who share your passion for writing. Very interesting to chat with fellow attendees about their projects. And no need to explain that you are still a writer even if not yet published.
So, I need to finish my current project and take a new look at my adventure about the red mare. As they say, place butt in chair and WRITE.