Event: Leviosa Con

LEVIOSA finalAs you probably already know, last week I had the opportunity to go to Leviosa Con in Vegas with my wonderful critique partners, Maddy, Erin, Akshaya, Janella, and Axie! It was so much fun and so educational. And I still have a severe friendship hangover from missing their beautiful faces!

Obviously I went to Leviosa as a writer, so my experience will be different from anyone attending as a fan, but I picked out 7 things I learned (because 7 Harry Potter books and 7 horcruxes) that I wanted to share:

1. Publishing is small – be nice to everyone!

This sounds obvious and cheesy, but it’s true and important to remember! I’ve heard for years how interwoven everything is, but it’s hard to really see that in action until you go to a few panels with authors and agents and editors and realize that everyone has connections in common. The same names pop up, the same works pop up. It’s a much more vivid reminder than trying to track the names listed on the acknowledgments pages.

This builds a wonderful community of people that respect one another’s work. It also means that anything you say or do is your personal platform interacting with theirs. Books inspire passion and opinions – that’s what I love about them! – but don’t get too carried away in the excitement of the moment. These are people you might be lucky enough to work with someday! 

2. Everyone in publishing is human – go say hi!

To go along with my first reminder, the benefit of everyone going to a convention is the opportunity to mingle. At Leviosa, everyone there loves books and Harry Potter – an automatic connection! Everyone I met was so friendly and enthusiastic; it was an absolute delight to discuss writing and books with them. They were full of advice and recommendations and my little writing heart is exploding with inspiration thanks to meeting them! (But none of that would have happened if I stayed in my introvert bubble).

It’s easy to get intimidated by their reputations (she reps so-and-so, she wrote this NYT best-selling book) but the convention floor is for everyone and if you have the nerve to introduce yourself, everyone is happy to spend a few minutes with you.

3. How to pitch your book to an agent in 5 min or less

I went to Leviosa for the chance to pitch my book to a couple of agents, and this was the most nerve-racking part for me. Especially when the 10-minute sessions were reduced to 5 minutes. How do you introduce yourself, pitch your book, and get some feedback in 5 minutes?! (It can be done, but boy does it take a village to make that pitch happen – I would have been lost without my CP’s!)

Make sure to research the agents before you sign up to pitch, because you don’t want to end up pitching a high fantasy novel to an agent that doesn’t represent fantasy – you’ll both be disappointed! Most of them will have this information on their agent bios or on their Manuscript Wish List.

Pitching could probably be its own post but I can’t pretend that mine went perfectly so I won’t give too much advice. I was able to condense my original 200-word pitch down to 100 words and I delivered it without blanking / stumbling / rambling so…success! Time wasn’t strict so I’m not sure if we ended up going under or over 5 minutes, but next time I do this I will hardly be nervous at all. Talking about what you’ve written is fun! And agents never know if your pitch will end up being The One, so there’s excitement on both sides, and they really do their best to make you feel comfortable. I recommend going to an “Ask the Agent” or “How to Pitch” panel if you go to a con, just so you can get a feel for what the agents at your particular pitch session are looking for or expecting.

Leviosa final 3

4. Panels are educational and you can find a lot of them online

Speaking of panels, this is the main convention feature! There are so many interesting topics to choose from – I wasn’t kidding when I said beforehand I wish I had a time-turner for this. Leviosa had a Harry Potter fandom track in addition to a writing track, so I actually spent all of my time at writing panels and missed everything related to Harry Potter! (Better luck next time, Future Me). Many of these panels were recorded to be posted on YouTube and other sites after the fact, so if you can’t save the money for the conference (these are expensive) you can try to get some of that experience for free.

5. MG vs YA

Not only did I get to ask agents about this, I went to a panel about it! When I was younger, there was simply adult fiction and children’s fiction, but now there’s a boom with young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, and new adult fiction. This is a (slow) but exciting process and I learned a lot about how these books are acquired and shelved. (Essentially, bookstores control everything – eek). I may do another post about this since I took a LOT of notes!

6. Sleep is for the weak

There is so much awesome stuff happening (and of course getting to hang out with my CP’s was amazing) so I pretty much survived on caffeine for four days. Rest up beforehand, people, don’t do what I did and move into a new apartment 36 hours before my flight…

7. “The whole point of this [event] is international, magical cooperation – to make friends!”

As Hermione says, friendship is the theme of this and I’m already planning the next time I can grab my CP’s and have a few days of magic together! 😀

Fun fact: a picture is worth 1,000 words, and this post is 1,000 words, so here:

leviosafinal2

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erinkbay
    Jul 15, 2016 @ 19:45:56

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!! <33333333

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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