"hi, we're going to the same conference"

Dear Miss Snark,

I have an agent protocol question for you. I found out that an agent I'm interested in querying is attending a conference I am also attending. I'm not ready to send a query out just yet. However, I was wondering if it would be appropriate to email the agent a short note that basically says I noticed that she's attending the conference, that I've been following her work, and I hope I get a chance to say hello to her at the conference. That's it other than of course making the effort at the conference just to meet her in person and say hello.

Does this seem acceptable to you? Sorry if this is one of those nitwit questions, and as always thanks for snarkastic blog.

This is not a nitwit question. This is a good question. You will have to try harder for cluelessness.

Answer: no. Don't email ahead of time. DO say hello at a conference. Agents are people and we don't know ANYONE at those conferences usually. It's nice to have someone say hello. (Hello is not code for "will you read my pages" of course but you knew that).

The reason you don't email is this: run up to a conference is a very hectic week. I'm going to a conference soon and it's sucking up three days of my week. Three days when I'd normally be reading the mail, yapping with editors, and managing the chaos.

Knowing I'm going to be gone for three days, I'm hellbent to get this place down to a dull roar before I leave so I'm not eager for more email, even well intentioned nice email.

In addition, when most of us go to conferences we're serving on panels or teaching classes so we're getting ready for those plus getting our desks cleaned up.

I will not remember you sent it, and if I do, it won't be fondly. Not even if you include a picture of your dog.

But, I'll be very glad to see you at the conference so DO make that effort to introduce yourself.


Anonymous said...

Ah, so Miss Snark will be at The Million Dollar Book Contract: How To Get (THE BEST) Agent
Cosponsored with Poets & Writers magazine , Tuesday, April 25, 7pm, eh?

Miss Snark said...


Matt said...

Oh goody! I hadn't thought to include a picture of my dogs!

Anonymous said...

Meeting an agent or editor and establishing a first, brief conversation does make a difference. I attended a conference way-back-when, sat in on a discussion of small presses, and afterward walked up to the guest speaker (editor) to say hi. We ended up chatting for about ten minutes in the hallway. She told me to send her something and to be sure to mention our conversation. I did, and sold my very first piece of short fiction. Of course, she had to like the story and my writing, but who knows, maybe that little talk in the hallway made the difference between her choosing someone else's story or mine.