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Kim Tomsic

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

5 Quick Reasons Why Reading Connects You with Literary Agents, Authors, and Editors

If you’re planning to attend a local event, regional gathering, or even an international publishing conference, I strongly urge you to READ! Reading the faculty members’ books prior to the event will give you more bang for your buck!

Connecting with Authors and Attendees: Reading select books in advance is a great way to connect with what is said in the keynote speeches and breakout sessions, and it provides a common ground with fellow attendees. 

Connecting with Agents: Read books written by the agents' clients - especially the agents whom you'd like to connect with. Reading an agent's clients' books is a great starting point to vet if an agent might be a good fit for you. You'll get a sense of their taste, and you might see the agent acknowledged in the back of the book. Furthermore, reading an agent's clients book offers material for nice conversation starters. If you like the agent, another step to vet them is by checking out what they're looking for on their manuscript wish list at #MSWL

Connecting with Editors: Furthermore, read books the editors on the faculty have worked on. Get to know an editor's taste and style. When you land in an elevator or bump into an editor at a conference-sponsored coffee or cocktail party, you'll have something authentic to talk about that is "them" focused.

I’ve been to dozens of SCBWI conferences. Every year, I’m thankful I did my self-imposed homework—it's worth the effort. 

Here are the top five reasons reading books written/edited/or agented by conference faculty will give you a RICHER, MORE TEXTURED conference experience:

Mem Fox reading to the audience! 
1.      You'll enjoy keynotes on a deeper level, because you’ve already crawled inside the author’s
head. Instead of looking at a stranger standing at the podium, you’ll feel like you’re listening to a friend. When a speaker refers to their book in a keynote or break-out session, you’ll be connected and understand the “inside” jokes and references. Do you have to read books before coming—No. Do the speeches feel more engaging and meaningful if you do—Absolutely, yes!

2.      You have conversation starters and a better opportunity to connect with the faculty, not to mention connecting with fellow attendees. I can't tell you how many times I've turned a stranger into a friend, because we both gushed over a faculty member's book. 
Reading your way to lasting friendships!
3.      You look like a professional. Reading the work of relevant speakers shows that you care about what’s happening in the publishing industry. You show that you are a good literary citizen. Furthermore, it’s a great way to vet which publishing professionals might be a good fit for you. Other ways to stay on top of what's happening in the publishing industry is subscribing to a free weekly update in Publisher's Lunch (by Publisher's Marketplace).

4.      You get exposed to books and genres you may not have considered—this helps rev-up the creative juices. Who knows - perhaps your own work will benefit.

5.      Great writers are readers first! 

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