Thursday, June 6, 2013

Why Do Agents Attend Conferences?

We often hear agents make the comment that they often don't sign too many authors from their meetings at conferences. If this is the case, then we have to ask why they go to the conference in the first place? Why, after working all week in the office, would the agent hop on a plane, live out of a hotel and lose an entire weekend just to expect not to find anything?

Now, I cannot answer for all agents, but I can certainly give you the reasons I go to conferences and what I expect.

I Go To Find Authors Despite what other agents have said, I do go to conferences where I think I will find authors. I have signed authors at conferences and I fully expect that I will continue to find authors at conferences. So, why do I find authors and others might not? I do believe much of this comes from the information I put out there of what I am looking for in an author and a book. I make it very clear what I want and what I don't want. Now, when we have pitch sessions, I tend to have primarily the authors who have read my bio, they know what I want and they aren't just throwing something out there.

I Go To Teach Authors want to learn. They want to hear from the professionals and get every thing they can to help them get closer to publishing that book, and to land that first deal. I am someone who want to go to a conference, teach sessions, talk to authors and help out as many authors as I can. I might not be able to sign the authors, but if I can get them closer, or even help them sign with someone else, then I have done my job.

Advertising My Authors This is something that I know a lot of other agents will also agree with. When we go to conferences, we do spend the time talking up our authors. This is one more way to get their names out there and make those sales continue to grow.

Meet With People We Might Not See Although we all have a lot of technology to talk to people around the world, there is nothing better than meeting people face to face. We probably aren't "cutting deals" but those conversations, those networking situations... they all add up and may lead us closer to selling some of our books to other editors.

So, my question for you today is simple. If you invite and editor or agent to your conference, what do you expect from them? What do you want to see?

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