Well, the conference is over and I'm utterly exhausted. But it was all worth it! I'm very glad that I was able to go this year and only God can receive credit for everything coming together for me. He is an awesome God and knows exactly what we need.
There were a lot of amazing workshops and I'm rather sorry that I missed some of them. But the ones I did go to were hosted by fantastic people such as Mona Hodgson, Ramona Richards, Steve Laube, and Karen Ball. They had great things to say about the publishing process, writing well, and techniques for telling a good story. Good stuff!
But all of that feels kind of flat in light of Saturday. I sent in two manuscripts this year (well, technically the same manuscript twice). One to Mona and the other to an agent. Mona is one of the sweetest people on earth and her stories are equally sweet. I really do recommend looking her up on amazon, google books or christianbook.com. Mona gave me a lot of great feedback on my story, all of which I hope to implement over the next few days. But even in its current state, I got some very encouraging feedback from the agent I sent Aura Lea to.
I met with her on Saturday... hence why Saturday was such a good day for me.
Saturday morning, after lunch, I was able to retrieve my manuscript from the hospitality center at Mt. Hermon. Both of my envelopes were there - so of course my heart when off beat after that. When you send a manuscript in for editorial review, you either receive a "yes" or a "no." So I was rather afraid to open that manila envelope! But of course, I did...
I sat down on the bench over near Newton Hall and took a deep breath. There was a blue slip of paper at the front of my manuscript which had my answer. On that slip was a check mark and a meeting time. The agent liked my writing!
Nothing could contain my excitement after that. So of course, I skipped about for a while and then sat down to do some editing (but I didn't really get anything done). My meeting was at 5:30. There were several hours of anxiety for me to sit through.
Thankfully, those hours did pass. at 5:20, I packed up my stuff and went to wait in hospitality for the agent to arrive. When the agent came through the doors, I got a smile and together we went out to sit on a planter outside the coffee house.
I assume many other authors sent in manuscript submissions to this particular agent, so it took some memory jogging for the agent to differentiate mine from the others. After that, I was asked to talk a little bit about my story and writing style, as well as my history. One question however, made me pause. Aura Lea has never been read through by anyone. So while my writing style is noteworthy, my ability to craft a decent plot is untested.
The agent really wanted someone to read it all the way through. But, once I could get that accomplished, I can send in a proposal. (a proposal is a good thing to be asked for in the publishing world!)
I talked more with that agent throughout the rest of the conference. They even knew of a freelance editor who would be available to read Aura Lea for me. So, all that said, I am walking away from the conference very encouraged and excited about what is to come. I keep trusting God that he has the best for me and that he knows exactly what he's doing. I just have to wait and see.