Request for a full and the ghost of conferences past
When I got back from India in February 2007 there were a few rejections and one request for the full manuscript. I sent that in straight away and started waiting for a response. Surely, they would read a requested manuscript faster? After two months, I followed up with a phone call. They said it was with the reader and I’d hear soon. Soon I did hear. That was Monday and by Friday, it was back in my mailbox with a standard rejection. It didn’t feel like anyone read it.
The previous fall a member of my writer’s group went to the Surrey International Writers’ Conference (SiWC), outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. She raved about it and told me I had to go the following year. I waited anxiously until the registration opened in July. I was determined to be the first registered. But I wasn’t. For some reason I hemmed and hawed. I’d been to a lot of conferences and found most of them to be aimed at beginning writers. I didn’t know what I would get out of it.I also vividly remembered one conference I went to in Toronto years ago. I attended the editors’ workshop. A panel of editors sat on the stage in an auditorium that felt like a high school gym. There was a distance between the editors and writers that was not to be breached, lest an editor came in contact with a lowly writer. One editor in particular bellowed what not to do: “don’t mail me a bowling pin with your query and tell me that I’ll be bowled over, don’t tell me that you wrote for your high school year book because that doesn’t count and i don't care, don’t tell me that your grandchildren liked your story ….” There was no interaction between the editors and writers, not even a question and answer period. So that’s why I had in my mind when I thought of going to a conference. I didn’t think it would be worth my time and money. Boy was I wrong!