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I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it. Ernest Hemingway

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So, you want to be a writer....

Meet The Editor
By Patsy Bell Hobson

You can write volumes. But, if you don't make pitches and queries, no one will ever read your work, much less pay for your talent.

The most productive thing you can do at this conference is arrange a one-on-one pitch session.

The second most productive thing is follow up. It's good to be able to say, "We met at the April Missouri Writers Guild Conference in Columbia."

This helps to refresh a busy editors' minds. It also lets them know that this is not just another unsolicited query or proposal.

Making pitches is nerve wracking. If you feel like Dorothy's trembling troop approaching the Wizard in Oz, keep that story in mind. Remember? Turns out the Wizard is just a person, and indeed, there to help you.

If the idea of a one-on-one appointment is spooking you, it should. Essentially, you are asking for a job. You only have a few minutes get the editor’s attention, make a good impression, or get your idea across.

Thank heavens the pitch is short. Introduce yourself, clearly state your idea, give your credentials for writing it, and times up!

Remember your goal is to hear the words, “Send it to me!” That’s a conference bases loaded home run.

Always meet the agent.
Always meet the editor.

Even if you don't have a completed manuscript, meet an agent or editor.
If this is not the agent or editor for you, consider the meeting a dress rehearsal. Better to try out your proposal in an authentic environment.

Make a short, to the point presentation. Practice what you are going to say. Take a deep breath, smile and begin with a firm handshake.

What could be better than a practice run? Present your ideas. Learn from the experience. Show them what you can do.

The Missouri Writers Guild brought professional speakers, editors, and agents to the conference for YOU. The Guild arranged for their transportation and accommodations. MWG will even schedule a pitch session for you. As a professional writer, you are going to have to make pitches often. Get used to it.

Many of my freelance assignments came from an introduction at a on- on-one pitch session. This is how I was able to move up from local to regional publications and from regional to national magazines.

Agents and editors want to meet you. They are looking for the next great writer. It could be you. Go ahead, meet the editor.

Writers on Writing Resources

By Patsy Bell Hobson

1. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk Jr., E.B. White, Roger Angell Own it. Reread it.

2. On Writing Well, The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William K. Zinsser Very Good. Every few years, read it again.

3. The Renegade Writer: A Totally Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing Success by Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell Fun. Think outside the box.

4. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott Reads like writing advice from a writer friend.

5. Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg An authors advice to friends and writers.

A Missouri Writers Guild member comes home and finds his wife in tears.

"Oh, John, it was terrible," she says. "I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn't notice the stove was on fire. It all went up in seconds. Everything is gone. I nearly didn't make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is--"
Wait, wait. Back up a minute," John says. "My agent called?"

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