Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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What is the Agents & Editors Conference?
The WLT Agents & Editors Conference provides an opportunity for writers to pitch their books to and receive valuable feedback from publishing industry professionals, including established literary agents and editors. In addition, the A&E Conference provides a full schedule of breakout sessions on the craft of writing and the business of publishing. These sessions are presented by agents, editors, authors, publicists, and other publishing professionals. The A&E Conference is designed to assist writers at any stage in their career in learning more about today's publishing industry so that they can better position themselves to succeed as writers.
A&E Conference registration includes admission to all breakout sessions (including panels, presentations, and genre meetings), the Friday Pitch Lab, the Friday Welcome Reception, the Saturday Keynote Reception, and the Sunday Closing Luncheon.
The Saturday Keynote Luncheon and the agent and editor consultations are sold separately.
Why should I attend the Agents & Editors Conference?
- The A&E Conference gives you the opportunity to network with established literary agents as well as editors from notable publishing houses.
- The breakout sessions and panels at the A&E Conference can give you valuable information and insight into the ever-changing publishing industry, which can help you succeed as a writer.
- You'll meet and network with other writers as well as the published authors and featured speakers at the A&E Conference.
Can I still benefit from the conference if:
- I'm a beginning writer?
- I'm not working on a book?
- My book isn't finished?
Yes! With all of the changes in publishing, writers need to know a lot about the business, even before they have finished a manuscript or are ready to find an agent. The A&E Conference is an excellent opportunity for getting an insider's look at the publishing industry and what is needed to succeed as a writer.
The A&E Conference is also the perfect place to meet other writers as well as published authors and other publishing professionals. Many of our past conference attendees have formed writing groups, found critique partners, or sparked lasting friendships with writers they've met at the Agents & Editors Conference.
Even though you're not actively shopping a book, you might still wish to register for a 10-minute consultation with an agent or editor to get feedback on your work/s in progress; you can also ask general questions about working with an agent/editor.
How much does the conference cost?
The 2017 Agents & Editors Conference fees can be found on the main registration page. If you're not yet a member of the Writers' League of Texas, you can join before you register to receive the member discount.
What is included in the registration fee for a general conference ticket?
A&E Conference registration includes admission to all breakout sessions, complimentary refreshments throughout the day (including breakfast on Saturday and Sunday), access to our exhibitor tables, admission to the Welcome Reception on Friday, the Keynote Reception on Saturday, and the Closing Luncheon on Sunday.
Anyone who registered and opted in before March 15 receives a free 10-minute consultation. For those who register after March 15 or do not opt in by March 15, consultations are available for purchase (with a limit of one per registrant at this time).
Do I have to join the Writers' League of Texas to attend?
No; we do offer rates for nonmembers. But by joining the Writers' League, you can save on your conference registration and receive a full year's worth of benefits. Members of the Writers' League receive a significant discount on the conference fee, as well as member discounts on any classes we offer throughout the year, including our Summer Writing Workshop. Regular membership costs $50 a year. You save $10 or more by joining when you register for the conference.
Are consultations included for late or walkup registrations?
Registration for consultations will remain open as long as appointment slots are available. Once all slots have been filled, the registration for consultations will be closed.
How do I register for the conference?
Register online with a credit card via our secure shopping page, or, to avoid handling fees, download the simple mail-in form and send with a check.
Is there a registration deadline?
Registrations will be taken as long as spaces are available; see the registration fees on the registration page for deadlines. Please remember the following:
- The agent/editor consultations are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis according to the date the completed preference or purchase form is submitted. The earlier you submit this form, the better your chances of meeting with your top choice of agents or editors.
- Late registrations are not guaranteed agent or editor consultations. If openings are available, late registrants will be offered the opportunity to purchase consultations.
- The conference may sell out if you wait too long to register.
- You save considerably on your registration if you sign up early.
If I can't get (or don't want) an agent/editor consultation, is there any point in attending the conference?
Absolutely! The point of the conference is to educate you on today's publishing world, offer you guidance on honing your craft, and provide opportunites for you to mix and mingle with industry professionals and fellow writers. If you end up not getting a consultation, you can still benefit from panel discussions on how to query an agent/editor/publisher. In addition, you'll have the chance to see agents, editors, and publishers in action and decide which ones might be a good fit for you. Even if you don't get a private session, you can always email an industry professional afterward, reference the conference, and pitch your work. And don't forget: as long as you are quick and to-the point, you can always approach these professionals before and after breakout sessions and at our conference mixers to pitch to them informally.
What happens at the consultations?
Consultations are private, one-on-one meetings with visiting agents and editors--a great opportunity to discuss your book project and receive feedback from a professional. Consultations are held in a separate area of the hotel and are 10 minutes in length. Each session will be timed by a volunteer who will notify you when your time is up. Consultations are not included in the general conference registration (unless you registered and opted in by March 15) and can be purchased for $50, with a maximum one consultation per registrant.
How are consultations assigned?
Each agent and editor is scheduled for a limited number of appointments, which are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. When you purchase a consultation, you submit a completed purchase form that includes a ranking of your preferences of agent and editor for your consultation. Every effort is made to assign you your first choice, but that's not always possible. When a registrant's first choice already has a full schedule, the next available choice is assigned. We appreciate your understanding and urge you to do your research and come up with several choices so that you have one or two back-ups you can be happy with.
I already have an agent. Am I required to meet with an agent at the conference?
No, you do not have to meet with an agent. For writers who already have an agent, we offer the option of a consultation session with an editor. Simply rank the editors in order of preference as your top choices.
What if I want to attend the conference for the workshops and the networking? Am I required to schedule a consultation?
No, these consultations are optional. If you do decide to meet with an agent or editor, we recommend that you use the time to discuss future projects, solicit feedback, ask general questions about working with an agent or publisher, or ask them for their opinion on where the book market is headed, etc.
How do I decide which agent or editor to meet with?
Our lineup of confirmed agents and editors is finalized in March. Faculty will be listed as they confirm on the WLT website. (Click on the CONFERENCE tab.) It is up to attendees to review the bios of attending agents/editors to determine who acquires manuscripts or has an interest in their genre or market.
We strongly recommend that you research the agents and editors who interest you by visiting agency and publisher websites, searching online for more information or interviews, and referring to other available sources. That will give you more information about the books these professionals acquire.
How (and when) do I sign up for my consultation time slot ?
The Writers' League will set up consultations based on preferences (see notes above) and notify you via email ahead of the conference (around June 15) with your appointment information, including the name of the agent or editor and the date, time, and place of your 10-minute session.
What is the deadline to purchase consultations?
Consultations are available for purchase until all open slots have sold out. We're unable to predict what that date might be. We suggest purchasing sooner rather than later if you'd like to be guaranteed a slot and a shot at one of your top choices.
Can I get an appointment with more than one agent or editor?
The current maximum number of consultations per registrant is one (1), including the free consultation if you registered and opted in by March 15. We'll reassess this around May 15 and may allow for additional consultation purchases at that time.
I signed up for the conference late. Can I still get a consultation with an agent?
If appointments are available when you register, consultations will still be available for purchase. We cannot guarantee that you will get one of your top choices, but we can guarantee that you will get a one-on-one meeting with a professional. Once consultations have sold out, we will shut down the purchase page.
Why aren't agents and editors added for extra consultations to accommodate late/walk-up registrations?
We finalize our list of agents and editors as early as possible. If there is time, we might invite additional faculty to meet demand.
If I can't be guaranteed a consultation with the particular agent I want to meet with, what's the point of attending the conference?
We believe that the most valuable purpose of the conference is to learn about the publishing industry, learn about the craft of writing, network with professionals, and meet a community of fellow writers--not to have a one-on-one consultation with a particular person.
We have a terrific list of faculty for the 2017 A&E Conference. You will learn a lot from a consultation with any of the agents and editors joining us in June. Even if you don't have a formal consultation scheduled, you will, in all likelihood, have the opportunity to meet your favorite agent or editor at some point during the weekend. It's also worth noting that, after meeting with faculty who weren't necessarily their top choices, many past attendees ended up sending manuscripts to agents or editors they didn't know they would be interested in working with.
Will I have opportunities to talk to agents outside my scheduled appointment?
Yes! Agents and editors will be available at the Friday and Saturday receptions and at the breakout sessions.
Should I bring my manuscript to my appointment?
No. Definitely not. Agents and editors only want to hear your verbal pitch at the conference. If interested, they will ask that you submit your manuscript after the conference. Each agent/editor will talk to many people about many manuscripts and will not have time to read or listen to you read your written pages. (Also, handing them a stack of paper will distract them from your verbal pitch!) Your goal is to be invited to submit your manuscript--this ensures the agent/editor will read it when he or she has the time and focus to do so.
How can I prepare for my consultation?
The best way to prepare is to develop and refine your verbal pitch. You will likely be nervous when the time comes to sit down with the agent or editor you're assigned a consultation with; practice can make those nerves easier to power through! Try to get your description of your book down to an "elevator pitch"--25 words or fewer. Then, have a longer description available when the agent/editor says, "Tell me more." (Consider attending the Pitch Lab on Friday, June 30, to pick up more useful tips and to practice on fellow attendees. You can also listen to a great podcast on "Practice Makes Pitch Perfect" which can be found here).
What should I NOT do when talking with agents/editors?
- Never, ever argue with an agent. If an agent tells you no, thank him or her for their time and move on. Listen to what he or she has to say and see what you can apply to your next pitching opportunity.
- Do not hand your entire manuscript to an agent or editor! Because each faculty member will talk to many people throughout the weekend, they cannot take even the first few pages of every manuscript of interest.
- If an agent or editor tells you your book is not right for him or her, don't take it personally--any number of reasons may be behind that decision. That's why we recommend meeting as many faculty members as possible throughout the weekend.
- If an agent or editor says, "Send me pages/a proposal/your manuscript," you've won! Do not continue to try to sell him or her on your project. Be respectful of the person's time and say "thank you." Be sure you get instructions on how/where to send whatever was requested.
- Do not go over your 10-minute time limit in your consultation.
- NEVER pitch to agents or editors in the bathrooms or when they're having a meal in the restaurant or bar. Please be respectful of these professionals and their down time.
- Do not monopolize an agent's or editor's time--while you may feel that you're "getting in good" with an faculty member by continuing past the pitch, their schedules for the weekend are extremely full and their attention is equally coveted by your fellow attendees.
What do I do if the agent or editor I meet with is NOT interested in my work?
Do not take a "no" personally--any number of reasons may be behind that decision. That's why we recommend meeting as many agents and editors as possible throughout the weekend. Occasionally, agents and editors will update their categories list without telling us. If the person you meet with says he or she does not represent your type of book, use the time to get information about why he or she is not interested and what you can do to make your idea more saleable. You can also talk about other ideas you have or ask for suggestions of other agents or publishers who might be interested.
If the agent you're consulting with tells you that your book is not of interest, do not argue or try to persuade him or her. You want an agent/editor who is just as enthusiastic about your work as you are. If someone says no, thank him or her for talking with you and then use the rest of your meeting time to get information that can help you. Ask the agent/editor what he or she thinks about your pitch, what can make the manuscript more saleable, and what suggestions he/she might have for other agents or publishing opportunities. Another approach is to talk about other ideas you have for future projects to get his or her reaction.
Remember that while you get one scheduled meeting with an agent or editor, you have multiple opportunities for more informal pitching with other faculty members. So if your consultation doesn't go exactly as you'd hoped, make sure you know which other agents and editors you'd like to talk with during the conference.
I co-wrote a manuscript; can both writers attend the same consultation?
Yes, but only if both writers have registered for the conference. If this is the case, please let us know who your co-author is when you submit your agent/editor preferences.
Should I query the agents or write the editors I want to meet with before the conference?
No! And did we say NO? Please no. The conference is your opportunity to query in person with your verbal pitch. You want the agent/editor to form his or her first impression of your manuscript as you enthusiastically describe it at the conference, rather than cold-pitching the agent beforehand. A flurry of queries before the conference may frustrate the consulting professional and have a negative impact.
You used to offer critiques of five manuscript pages by an editor. Why can't I purchase that?
In an effort to make the best use of these professionals' time, we are only offering verbal pitch meetings. If you feel you need professional editing, there are many excellent editors listed on our Resources page. We also urge you to enter our annual Manuscript Contest, as each entry receives a professional critique.
Why would I want to meet with an editor? Aren't agents the ones who make the deals?
Editors can and do acquire books, but they rarely acquire a book (or request materials) from a writer directly; an agent is almost certainly involved in this process. Regardless, editors can offer valuable insight into agents who represent your type of work, should you need suggestions. What's more, editors can offer valuable information on how to shape your story for not only agents and publishers, but for readers. They are also often experts on specific genres or categories and can share great advice that's specific to what you're writing. For all of these reasons, and more, we invite editors to the conference and we make one-on-one consultations with them available. That said, you should not select a meeting with an editor if your sole goal is having someone request materials or tell you they'd like to consider your work for publication. This is not a realistic goal for a meeting with an editor, and you will likely be disappointed. We're cautioning you here so that you don't regret it later. It's worth noting that we've made concerted efforts this year to invite editors who are open to considering unagented submissions. Questions? Call us and we're happy to chat.
When and where will the conference be held?
The 2017 Agents & Editors Conference will be held June 30-July 2, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Austin, 208 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78704. You can make your hotel reservations online or by calling the hotel directly at 512.477.1234.
Why do I need a name badge?
Name badges give you access to all conference breakout sessions, events, and your agent/ editor consultation/s. You cannot attend any conference-related event without it.
What if I lose my name badge?
If you lose your name badge, ask for a replacement badge at the WLT Staff Table.
Are meals included in my conference registration?
Some of your meals will be covered, but not all. Coffee and light breakfast and snack foods will be provided on Saturday and Sunday mornings and Saturday afternoon. Light appetizers will be provided at the evening receptions on Friday and Saturday, and the Closing Luncheon on Sunday is free and open to all registrants. In addition, the hotel has a restaurant and a coffee shop on-site, and several restaurants are within walking distance.
Keynote Luncheon tickets for Saturday, July 1 will be made available for purchase in advance.
Who should I contact if I have a disability and/or special needs?
Please notify us of any disabilities or special needs when you register for the conference. You can email or call the Writers' League office with specific details on the type of assistance you would like to request. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 512-499-8914.
Will there be panels or presentations at the conference?
Yes! Take a look at last year's conference program to see what to expect.
How will I know which panels and presentations I can attend?
Once the schedule of panels and presentations is finalized, a full conference schedule will be posted online. You will also receive a registration packet with a conference program when you check in. (Of course, you'll also need to be aware of the times of any one-on-one consultations that have been scheduled for you; please don't arrive late to a consultation because you lingered too long at a panel!) You can review the choices for each session and attend those of most interest. Admittance to panels and presentations is dependent on space limitations of the venue. Be aware that some sessions will be more popular than others. If there is one you just can't miss, you may need to arrive early. You may move from session to session if you like.
What should I expect at the Friday Welcome Reception?
The Friday Welcome Reception will take place at the hotel ballroom Friday evening (exact time to be announced). After welcoming attendees and familiarizing them with information concerning the 2017 A&E Conference, we'll announce the winners of the 2017 Manuscript Contest. At the conclusion of the announcements, attendees will be welcome to mix and mingle and enjoy light snacks and a cash bar.
What if my plans change and I can't attend? Can I get a refund?
Our refund policy for the 2017 Conference allows for:
- Through January 1, 2017: 100% refund available.
- January 2, 2017- April 30, 2017: 50% refund available.
(All cancellations will incur a $50 cancellation fee.)
- After April 30, 2017: No refunds will be made, no exceptions. (Registrants can transfer their registration to another person as long as advance notice is given to the Writers' League of Texas. If you wish to transfer your registration, please call the WLT at 512-499-8914.)
Can I bring my book/flyers/etc. to sell or give away?
Our A&E Conference exhibitor space is reserved for organizations and businesses only. We don't lease exhibitor space to individual authors. If you are associated with a business or organization that services writers and you'd like more information on exhibiting, contact us at email@example.com.
Can my spouse/child/friend stay in the hotel with me?
Yes. You may bring whomever you want to accompany you on your trip, and they can stay at the hotel with you, but they cannot attend conference events unless they have also registered.
Can my spouse/child/friend, etc. come to the breakout sessions?
No. All conference events require paid registration.
Can my spouse/child/friend, etc. come to the Welcome Reception?
No. All conference events require paid registration.
I am not attending the conference. Can I still come to the receptions or check out your exhibitor tables?
No. All conference events require paid registration.
HOTEL & TRAVEL
When and where will the conference be held?
The WLT Agents & Editors Conference will be held June 30-July 2, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Austin, 208 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78704.
How do I make hotel reservations?
You can make your hotel reservations online or by calling the hotel directly at 512.477.1234. See below for possible discounts and room guarantees.
Is there a discount on hotel rooms for conference attendees?
Yes, we reserved a block of discounted rooms for conference-attendees at the Hyatt Regency Austin. Visit this page for more information. Our conference room block typically sells out in advance of the event, so we suggest booking your room as soon as you register. (Check with the hotel to confirm that rooms are still available before you register--if staying at the venue is important to you.)
Do I need to check in with the Writers' League when I arrive at the hotel?
You can visit the WLT registration desk to pick up your conference totebag, program, and name badge before attending any conference events. Check in will take place from 11am to 5 pm Friday in the Big Bend rooms on the hotel's first floor. On Saturday it will move to the second floor lobby, starting at 8am.
Where can I park? How much will it cost?
There is a parking garage onsite. Details to come, please check back closer to the conference.
When should I schedule my flights?
If you plan to attend the genre meetings on Friday, you will want to be at the hotel by noon on Friday, June 30, to have plenty of time to check in at the conference registration desk in advance of the Friday programs. Keep in mind that traffic in downtown Austin can be extremely busy on Friday afternoons, so allow extra travel time.
If you are not attending pre-conference events (details will be announced as we finalize our schedule), you will want to be at the hotel between 3 and 4 p.m. on Friday to allow time to check into the hotel, check in at the conference registration desk, and be at the Welcome Reception that evening. This reception is your first opportunity to interact with the agents and editors who attend the conference. Keep in mind that traffic in downtown Austin can be quite busy on Friday afternoons and allow extra travel time.
All conference events will conclude on Sunday, July 2, around 2pm.
SPONSORS & EXHIBITORS
How can I become a sponsor or an exhibitor?
If you are affiliated with an organization or business and are interested in becoming an exhibitor or a sponsor, please contact us at 512-499-8914 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I've read the FAQ, but I still have questions! Who can answer them for me?
You can contact the Writers' League with any questions you have about the Agents & Editors Conference or other Writers' League programs by calling 512-499-8914 or by emailing the Writers' League office at email@example.com