I will infiltrate the DFW Writers Conference this weekend. I hope to make important contacts, find people who tell me how great my work is, learn writing and publishing secrets, and meet a an agent who thinks my novel is so marketable they’ll run over orphans while rushing to get it into print. That’s what I hope. I expect to meet writers who are struggling as much as I am, find people who drop into a coma after the first sentence of my pitch, learn what stupid mistakes I’ve been making, and take a vicious pounding from agents about how much my idea, my writing, and my haircut sucks.

It’ll be fun.

In addition to taking in all the classes such as “The Wild West of Publishing” and “How to Write for Boys,” I will pitch my humorous adult fantasy novel Six White Horses. I think I’m ready. I’ve practiced my one minute pitch. I’ve practiced my elevator pitch, which is short enough for a ride from the exhibit floor to the floor with the buffet. I have business cards with my name, photo, contact info, and my tag line: “Fantasy so sarcastic it bleeds laughter.” And my pitch is printed on the back of the card.

I’ve prepared a number of flash drives containing important documents, just in case anyone sees the brilliance beneath the blotchy skin of my first novel. They contain a one page query, an overview, a synopsis, a full proposal, and the first three chapters of the book. The conference organizers warned me in authoritarian terms to bring no paper copies of anything, and to bring no full manuscripts whether on paper, flash drives, or burned into the skin of a buffalo. Electronic media it is.

The conference encourages agents and writers to mingle at a reception Saturday evening, on the patio, weather permitting. Barring a tornado or a barrage of hailstones, I hope to chat in a casual yet professional fashion with everyone in sight, if I can do it without looking like a mule’s scabby hind-parts. I may hold a drink, which I think would make me look worldly and literary, especially if it’s not a bottle of Bud Light. I’ll be able to identify the agents by the writers swarming around them like German fighters around an American B-17 bomber. I don’t think I can push my way through them without looking desperate, though. Maybe if I offer them free drinks they’ll go away—at least that’s the way it would work in a bad novel.

Like I said, it’ll be fun. And if it’s not fun, then I bet it’ll be educational.