2017 SDSU Writers’ Conference: Five Questions with Agent Dawn Dowdle

Dawn Dowdle

Dawn Dowdle

Whatever your writing level, whatever your genre, there’s something for you at the SDSU Writers’ Conference. The 33rd annual conference is Jan. 20-22, 2017 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, with award-winning, best-selling, and thrilling keynote speakers R.L. Stine, J.A. Jance, and Jonathan Maberry. Learn from their insights, and the expertise offered in 40+ workshops on the craft and the business of writing.

Best of all, get direct feedback on your writing (Advance Reading) and pitch (Consultation) with up to five agents or editors of your choice. The SDSU Writers’ Conference was among the first to pioneer these 1:1 appointments, giving you unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals — many of whom interact with unpublished authors only through conferences.

The distinguished faculty this year includes agent Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency in Virginia:

1. What’s the best advice you can give to writers who are polishing their pitches, query letters and first 10 pages of their manuscripts in preparation for the upcoming SDSU Writers’ Conference?
Make sure your manuscript, synopsis, query letter and e-mail are proofed and well edited. The author should know their genre. This means knowing the acceptable word count as well as the elements for that genre. Research the agents/editors so that you are pitching to someone who is accepting your genre. Perfect your pitch for your meeting, but don’t get so nervous. We won’t bite.

2. Can you share one of the best/worst opening lines from query letters you’ve received?
This is one of the worst: In 2012, I wrote my first novel in 28 hours at the age of almost 14, because I wanted to demonstrate I could express a lot, in a few words.

3. What’s the first book that spoke to you as a young reader?
I’m not sure it was the “first,” but I loved The Happy Hollisters series. Also really liked Laura Wilder’s books.

4. If you had to choose only one, what’s your favorite book?
Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance.

5. What do you hope to find at the 33rd Annual SDSU Writers’ Conference?
Amish Romance, Amish Mystery, Contemporary Romance that is unique, Cozy Mystery, Mystery with a good hook, Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense, and a Suspense that keeps me turning the pages. Looking for books that are ready to go!

For more information about the SDSU Writers’ Conference, visit neverstoplearning.net/writers