In my defense, Appleseed (aka my son) is walking now and shit has gotten real.
I suppose the main question to ask after a writing conference is whether or not I got out of it was I was hoping I would, in which case the answer is a qualified "yes." It's only qualified in that I was only able to meet with 5 agents during the agent speed dating, but 3 of the 5 requested sample pages, which is a pretty good rate.
(Small, probably inappropriate digression: Of the 2 agents who weren't interested, 1 was bizarrely confrontational about it, although said agent was the same way towards the person ahead of me in line, so I have to assume s/he was the same towards everyone. It was really strange. I realize they were into their third hour of speed dating, but I would guess they get most of their best leads from such things. In fact, I know a lot of agents will only accept submissions from either referrals or people they meet at conventions. Anyway, the other agent who wasn't interested was great, telling me up front that she wasn't interested, but then asking me if I had any questions about anything agent and/or publishing related.)
Anyway, I wish I'd been able to meet with more agents, particularly given the cost, but the ones I met with I really liked (aside from the exception).
It took me a week to finally send the requested pages. See the aforementioned shit getting real. I also wanted to make sure the pages were as good as humanly possible. The strange thing is that one of the samples was to be for "Reqliaury," a book I literally started rewriting two weeks before the conference.
I managed to get all three samples out and within a few days I heard back from two of the three agents:
This leaves one query remaining (actually, I'm sure there are others still out there, but those are just query letters, not samples). I really liked that agent, so my fingers are leaving a mark they're crossed so hard. She asked for the longest sample, too, so maybe this is a good sign.
Funny enough, the best part of SFWC for me was probably the Twitter aspect of it. I made a lot of Twitter friends. Perhaps this is the new way of doing things. At the very least, it is for those of us who didn't stay at the hotel and had to drive back to the 'burbs at the end of each day. I wasn't making a lot of contacts in person.
I do feel like I've missed the boat on that a little bit. I am nothing if not an awesome drunk and I feel like that's a talent which could have positive effects, were I ever in a position to take advantage of it.
One incredibly frightening thing I had reiterated to me at SFWC is that self-publishing isn't going anywhere. It's not that I dislike self-publishing (I've done it), it's that the signal to noise ratio is just so crazy. In a lot of ways, publishing house have become filters for books; they take the masses and supposedly disseminate only the best. Granted, that translates to "only what sells" so it ends up being something like the AOL of books, but still. No one has time to sift through every book published by every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the internet, so we depend upon publishers to sift through the bad stuff and give us the good.
But if you have the chops, self-publishing can be a real thing. And there are plenty -- PLENTY -- of business that can help you, for a price.
Self-publishing scares me because it feels like such a commitment, one you're making completely on your own. I don't know if I have the time, energy, or know-how to properly self-publish, let alone the money.
Anyway, all in all SFWC was good. Maybe I'll start getting a little more social in writing circles after this.
...that would be something.