PNWA 2016

I knew I’d go back to the PNWA conference again this year. I didn’t have an agent, so I needed to pitch my book again. I wanted to make new friends and reconnect with the ones I’d made last time. I missed the electricity of three wonderful days in the company of hundreds of fellow word nerds.

And then I learned I was a finalist in the literary contest! (cue prancing and cavorting)

I spent way more money on the conference and hotel than a broke girl with two jobs should, and I didn’t regret it. I wore the finalist ribbon on my name tag with pride. I hugged my friends. I got blisters from my new shoes. I handed out business cards. I networked on behalf of a friend who couldn’t make it. I learned about edit letters, ARCs, blog tours, and other industry jargon. I learned how to find the right contests and podcasts. I heard my query letter read aloud by a panel of agents, and when they praised it I glowed and whispered “oh my god oh my god oh my god.” I got fifteen new Twitter followers. I stayed up to help my friend and hotel roommate brainstorm edits for a piece that would be due in two days. I lay on the couch in the cool, quiet bookstore to rest my injured back, and no one looked at me weird or asked me to sit up. I sipped chardonnay and mimed silliness at my friends beyond the glass wall while I waited for the awards dinner to begin.

I thrived in my element and came home fully charged with optimism, determination, and passion. Thanks for everything, PNWA.

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