Monday, January 14, 2013

When is it worth the money?

Last week I was browsing my twitter feed, as I often do, and saw a tweet by agent Jill Corcoran about lunch, tea, and her. How could I resist clicking on the link?

There before me was an opportunity: How To Hook An Agent Hosted by: Writing Pad
For $200, 12-15 people would be attend a writing class hosted by Jill, lunch, tea, and 1-on-1 time for a ten page critique. It is to take place in Beverly Hills.

I have NEVER been to a writing conference, let alone anything like this. And I thought, "Is this worth $200?"

I have read Jill's blog several occasions and many times visited the agency website. I've learned to research agents before querying, it saves your time and theirs.  Why query someone who isn't looking for what you have? I even came across a link to a YouTube interview with her a while back and thought she seemed like the friendliest person, ever. In fact, she reminded me of Nina Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

My current ms is fantasy. From everything I've read that genre isn't one of her interests (I pretty much felt like a stalker trying to find if she ever mentioned liking any book that was remotely fantasy). The answer I came up with was no.

"So, what did you do?" you may ask.

I spent $200 and signed up for the class.

I can imagine a few of you saying, "Why?! She doesn't rep fantasy!"
Here is why:

It's in LA. Since I live in San Diego it's only a few hours drive.

Second, although she doesn't have a strong interest in fantasy, you never know. Not that I think my book will be the excepetion to the rule, I can still hope. Besides, she may like my writing and ask to see something else, or refer me to an agent who would like this particular book. I have more wips than I can count in files on my computer/flash drive. Picture books, my illustrations, middle grade adventure, to all sorts of young adult. Not all are done, but some are.

But that is just a small part of why I decided this class was in my best interest and worth the money. The main reason: I want to become a better writer. I want the advice she's willing to give an aspiring author.

Even if Jill thinks this plot/story line isn't great, she still knows good writing from bad. More importantly, she can give me an idea as of to what I'm doing wrong, regardless of it being fantasy or contemporary. I want to stand out from the crowd, make my stories unique, and my writing flow.

Reading blogs and books about writing has helped me (2 specific blogs come to mind:  Aimee Salter and Plot Whisperer-Martha Alderson-Martha also happens to be one of Jill's authors. A great book: Tarot for Writers-Corrine Kenner- I don't believe in 'fortune telling,' but it really makes you get creative, I can't speak highly enough of this book). I know I'm better than I was when I started this journey. But what blogs and books can't do is give feedback. They can't give you suggestions or brainstorm with you.

Don't get me wrong. I love and appreciate my friends reading my working and giving me feedback. It helps. They see things I don't. I already know the story and the characters, it's getting others to. My friends do tell me things they like and don't like, and their honesty is great. But it's not quite the same as someone who isn't my friend. I love constructive criticism and I want the hard honest truth. I am going to invest in me and my unwavering determination to write something amazing (and get it published the traditional way).

Wish me luck for Saturday! But in the meantime feel free to let me know: What would you, or have you paid for to further your career/dream job and was it worth it?

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