SFWC The Prequel

The words prequel and sequel are helpful when I’m about to indulge in anything. To avoid the hedonistic implications, I often have dinner the prequel and dinner the sequel, as well as dinner. I also do prequels and sequels to Sunday, because doesn’t everyone want Sunday the sequel instead of Monday?

The SFWC is the San Francisco Writers Conference, which is coming up this weekend. I’m overusing the acronym to avoid Googleability, which makes me the world’s only blogger who doesn’t want a bigger readership. I can just see someone Googling the conference for directions, finding my blog and booting me off the volunteer squad before the damn thing starts. I’m being particularly ridiculous because I attached this URL to my bio on the volunteer page, which means that I basically invited and encouraged those I’m in fear of to visit this site.

The SFWC is three days of speakers, breakout sessions, Q&As with agents and editors–a smorgasbord of networking opportunities with infinite possibilities for self-promotion. Don’t leave your business cards at home! There is even a horrific-sounding event called “speed dating with agents.” Participants with sweaty palms stand in long lines, waiting for their three minutes to sell an agent on their manuscript. Agents practice looking interested so the participants stop shaking and stuttering. Or so I hear. The truth is I tried lesbian speed dating once and it will be a long time before I go near any speed dating again.

I’m vaguely interested in the keynote speakers: Clive Cussler, Tess Gerritsen, Daisy Maryles, and April Sinclair. (If you are interested, these speaking events are open to the public at $10 each.) My volunteer duties, as I’ve simplified them in my head, consist of introducing and providing water for the moderator and keeping time at five breakout sessions over three days. My assigned sessions cover spiritual writing, technology, blogs/podcasts, building literary community, using dialogue. There are a bunch of other sessions I’d like to attend in my free time about pitches/queries, magazine/internet writing, getting paid to write your book, and one with the intriguing title, “What do editors do all day.”

There will be about 300 attendees, 40-50 volunteers, and 80-100 speakers; I’m sure I’ll feel out of place amongst them all. I get this sense that for unpublished authors this is a big chance to make the connections that could one day result in publication. I don’t have any high hopes for meeting an agent or editor to advance my career. I’m just excited that it’s in a fancy hotel. I’m also excited because the whole thing is about books–writing, editing, promoting, marketing, and selling them. While a lot of writers I talk to dislike the “book business” part of the process, I find it fascinating. I love book talk, even when I think the person talking is not too bright. So, in my cynical way, I’m looking forward to the conference. Maybe I’ll even have something substantive to say about it.

2 Responses to “ SFWC The Prequel ”

  1. Matthew Rampage Says:

    Sounds riveting,
    think comic-con,
    or maybe a medical supply symposium.

  2. procrastinator Says:

    i actually thought of attending, i thought i am a person who is at the point in writing that i should be attending something like this… then i looked at the price, volunteering is much more sensible. if you could just make some good contacts for me and get me published that would be great.

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