You’re looking at the San Francisco Writers Conference website and probably wondering why we’re offering two different ways to meet with an agent. This can be confusing so I’m here to explain the difference. The wonderful agents who come to meet with you are excited to hear your book pitch. They are shopping for the next bestseller. Katharine Sands of the Sarah Jane Freymann Agency in New York told us that writers conferences are like Costco for agents. That’s why they spend four hours, three minutes at a time, Speed Dating with attendees whose books are ready to sell. We offer a number of breakouts and events during the conference to help you perfect your pitch before your speed dating session Sunday Morning. Speed Dating with agents is a conference classic and dramatically increases your chances of finding an agent to represent your work over simply querying by email.
New in 2018 were 15 minute Agent Conversations and they sold out so quickly, and made attendees so happy, that we brought them back with more hours and more agents. This is a scheduled 15 minute meeting with the agent you select. You could make your pitch and even get feedback on it since the time slot is longer, but you can also just have a conversation about your work in progress, your writing career, the market, any questions you have about craft, commerce, and community. They can help you figure out where you really are in the process and what your next steps could be. It’s also a great opportunity to make a human connection and get over some of your nervousness about the pitching and querying to come.
Throughout the conference all of our presenters do their best to be available to meet you and answer your questions, but undivided attention is sometimes difficult to offer. And we recognize that some people are shy and reluctant to approach a speaker who may have a crowd around them. Agent conversations are a way to ensure you get time to have the chat you need to move you forward.
In summary, if your focus is selling your book, Speed Dating is for you. If you’re not sure your book is ready, have questions about publishing, or want to meet your first agent in a less stressful setting, an Agent Conversation is where you can do that. Many attendees choose to do both. The fees charged for these add-ons support our non-profit and help us create the best full spectrum writers conference in the country. We can’t wait to meet you there!
–Lissa Provost, SFWC Operations Manager