Putting the finishing touches on the manuscript I plan to pitch.
This convention takes place at the Hyatt Grand in New York every year and it is more of a networking thing than workshop. It's pricey, too, but if you can afford it, it's worth it. There is Craftfest, which offers panels from successful, published authors talking about writing. There is Thrillerfest panels where authors talk about their books and the publishing industry. And then, there is the incomparable Pitchfest where all the major agents set up at speed dating tables where you pitch your manuscript.
I've been traditionally published once, and have self published three other books, but that does not mean my dream of getting in a major house has died. My first course of action is to get an agent with every new book. When I exhaust that option, then self publishing comes into play.
I've been doing this for a few years and have yet to snag an agent, but I've made a few personal relationships with the agents and I know that when I pitch, or if I email query one of these agents, they take me seriously. They actually read what I send them and get personal feedback. That's what the face to face does. That's what the cocktail parties do. That is what running into an agent in the Hyatt bar and chatting for a few minutes will do. I have one agent who gives me a hug when she sees me. She hasn't taken me on, but I can't blame it on being one of thousands of faceless emails.
You cannot be shy. Everyone is welcoming and looking to make connections. Talk to everyone you can. Not everyone will stick, but odds are, a few will. Oh, the cocktail parties every night. You see Lee Child? Walk up and say hi. Many well known authors are available to meet and possibly get a picture. I've made several friends that I keep in contact with and see every year. Last year, I was there for three days and only left the hotel once. Going to this conference is my Christmas... I feel like I belong.
Like I said, it's worth the price.... for me, at least.