Speed Dating with the Editors: Making the ‘Write’ Connection

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
By Jill Earl

Recently I returned to a conference I attended a couple of years ago in Washington, D.C. called Conversations & Connections, where the focus was on getting published through regional literary magazines and small presses.

One of the highlights for me was the ‘Speed Dating with the Editors’ session. Each conference attendee received a complimentary ‘Speed Dating’ pass with registration, with the option to purchase additional passes depending on availability. I passed up this opportunity the first time I went to the conference, but decided to give it try this year.

When the time came, attendees lined up with writing samples of one or two pages to meet editors in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. With only fifteen minutes allotted for each meeting, there’s just enough time to pitch your piece, get it reviewed, hear feedback and move on to the next editor.

The first editor I met with reviewed my nonfiction piece about observations made while I rode a subway train. When we were done, I bought another pass and quickly got back in line for the next go-around. When my turn came again, I sat with a fiction editor who reviewed my piece on a woman’s adventures living near a chocolate shop. In both cases, the feedback received was quite helpful and positive. And I got more practice on the process of pitching.

I also appreciated the low-key environment. While there was initial anxiety, editors were only too willing to make the process enjoyable, even fun. And I made some good connections.

So next time you’re registering for a conference and spot a ‘Speed Dating’ session on the schedule, consider signing up. There’s no telling where the ‘write’ connection may take you!


Margo Dill said...

This is a really cool concept. I did 8-minute dating before I met my husband, but I think this speeding through the editors is cool. I've never been to a conference where they did this. Thanks for sharing! Margo http://margodill.com/blog/

Jill said...

Thanks, Margo! I agree that this IS a really cool concept and I hope to see more conferences adding it to their schedules.

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