Sunday, March 29, 2009

NEC RWA Let Your Imagination Take Flight!

I just spent a totally exciting weekend at the New England Chapter RWA's LET YOUR IMAGINATION TAKE FLIGHT conference! It started on a wonderful note. The first person I met was Lisa Garder. I love her work, so I had a gushing fangirl moment! And amazingly enough, she at least acted like she'd heard my name too! I also had a chance to chat with Jessica Andersen (Look for her NIGHTKEEPERS series!), Anna DeStefano (who is now with Dorchester, my publisher, for her romantic suspense DARK LEGACY), and Jennifer Greene (85 books published!) was our keynote speaker!

My editor, Leah Hultenschmidt of Dorchester was one of the featured industry professionals. We had a very productive (and fun!) meeting on Friday. She'd asked me to bring her 4 possible premises for my next story and in the end, she let me choose the one I felt most strongly about writing. Now I need to put together about 30 pages and then we'll get the contract settled.
Oh! and Leah also brought my gorgeous Christmas anthology cover! The jpg image does not do it justice. The red heart ornament is double embossed and the snowflakes are also raised. The gold is so rich looking in real life. I was thrilled!

Sadly, my agent has had to close her doors due to personal health reasons. She will always be special to me because she was the first to believe in my writing, but she's advised me to seek another agent. So on Saturday, I pitched to an agent I respect and would love to have represent me. She asked me to send a copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT and 150 pages of a romantic suspense I've finished. Crossing my fingers and toes!

Then I had the chance to give my JOY OF WRITING SEX workshop. Often, a sex scene stops a story cold. My goal in this workshop is to help other writers think about how to make all the scenes in their manuscript deepen character and propel the story. I share lots of excerpts from writers who have used sex scenes in unique ways and my workshop is always filled with lots of laughter. And I got an invitation to come speak for a Connecticut RWA in April out of the deal!

I'll be going to the RT Convention and RWA Nationals, but a smaller regional conference has definite benefits, too. I'll be back next year!


Nynke said...

Hi Emily,

sounds like a wonderful conference! And wow @ Jennifer Greene's 85 books... I can't even imagine what it must feel like to have that many years of steady output behind you! (I'm young, I know.)

I hope your prospective agent says yes! And I can't imagine why she wouldn't :).

EmilyBryan said...

Reputable agents won't offer representation if they don't feel passionately about an author's work. And however much I admire and respect this particular agent, if she doesn't LOVE my work, she's not the right agent for me.

Forming an agency relationship is a little like a marriage. I'm getting into financial and professional bed with this person. We both need to be able to trust each other to deliver on our respective parts of the bargain.

Nynke said...

Well, better hope she loves you, I mean, your work, then! ;)
Otherwise, I hope you'll only have to go dating a short while before you find The One!

Penny Watson said...

I cannot imagine that any agent would read Vexing the Viscount and not jump at the chance to sign you. That book totally rocks! It was great to meet you at the conference.- Nina, a.k.a., Penelope!

Teddyree said...

Good luck with your search for a new agent although I'm sure you won't need luck; the right thing will happen at just the right moment.

Waiting for my copy of Vexing the Viscount to arrive, hurry hurry LOL
I've just put up a review for Distracting the Duchess & I loved it, even more than Pleasuring the Pirate (for different reasons)

EmilyBryan said...

Oh, Nina! Bless your kind heart. There are actually a number of reasons an agent might not offer representation to a particular author. Meg Ruley gave one at the agent panel this weekend. She said even if she loves an author's work, if the name of an editor who will also love it doesn't pop into her mind, she'll pass. That kind of pragmatism makes sense. Jessica Faust also said that if she passes on a project and then someone else sells it, she's happy for the author and agent, but realizes for some reason, that author was not for her.

Teddyree--Thanks so much for the lovely review of DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS on your blog! You raised the point of historical accuracy and it's a valid one. I try very hard to get the history right, as it touches actual events. For example, there was a great deal of jockeying for position between Great Britain and Russia in Asia during the Victorian age with plenty of espionage on both sides. The "Russian Menace" was probably inflated by the warmongers of the day, but Russia did try to gain a foothold in Afghanistan and like the Brits earlier, paid for the attempt with many lives.

And I so hear you about my Russian's accents! I could hear the character speaking so clearly, but translating that to the page was quite a challenge. Believe it or not, the final form in print is a much simplified version of my original! My editor has my permission to shoot me if I ever write another Russian!

Jane L said...

Emily, So when you are pitching to an agent do you get nervous still? I am pitching at RT and I am excited! I am wondering if a published author like you gets nervous or if you look at more as a business transaction and you stay focused and calm! Hey any advise will be helpful here! LOL!

EmilyBryan said...

No, I don't get nervous because I know nothing I say or do is going to permanently affect my career right then. (Unless I have a total nervous breakdown!) The goal of the pitch is to be personable and friendly and give the agent or editor a clear picture of what I have to offer and find out if they want to see more. It's the writing that makes or breaks a deal.

Pitching is like being a waitress offering ketchup. Not everyone likes ketchup. Some may already have plenty of ketchup stashed in their purse. Some wouldn't take ketchup if you gave it away for free. Some might like my ketchup, but they just dumped another brand of ketchup all over their fries and won't need more ketchup till 2011.

I can't take it personally if they don't want my ketchup.

But someone is going to want my ketchup.

I just have to keep offering it.

Jane, you're going to do great with your pitch at RT. I'll do a practice session with you in Orlando, if you'd like!

Jane L said...

Thanks! Emily! I would love that! I know having a Marketing background helps! Yea! we love to sell stuff! Its just a little more nerve racking when it is your own "stuff" LOL! I am so looking forward to meeting you and sharing stories! You are a great insperation and role model for aspiring authors and you should know how much it is appreciated!