Fortunately Wrong

We love to hear success stories. To see how people achieve that next level is truly inspiring. Our next success story comes from a member of our very own DFW Writers’ Workshop (the sponsor for the conference). For this, we decided to let Dave tell his own story.

_W9A0298“Sometimes a game takes an unexpected turn, in which beauty begins to emerge.” – Vladimir Kramnik, Russian Chess Grandmaster

I must be completely and totally honest. I knew exactly how the 2013 DFW Writers Conference was going to go for me when I first registered.

I would meet with the literary agent I requested at my assigned pitch session. I would pitch my urban fantasy, Milton Tuttle. I would be told it sounds interesting. I would be asked to send a partial manuscript. And in two months, I would receive an email that would contain the most vile, wretched and loathsome word to an aspiring author…


You see, I’ve done this before. And submission after submission, that word has come up time and time again. And I had no reason to suspect anything different this time.

That was before I had a chance to sit down with Michelle L. Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency.

Now, Michelle wasn’t my requested pitch agent. According to the agent checklist, she didn’t even represent my genre. But I was fortunate enough to spend some time with her and talk about things other than DFWCon. It was during one of those conversations that I mentioned that my daughters love for me to tell them stories.

“Do you ever write them down?” she asked.

“There’s one called The Daisy Flower,” I told her.

“So why aren’t you writing children’s literature?”

“I don’t know. It seems too simple. There’s got to be a catch or a trick to it.”

“No, not really. It has to have some form of meter. It has to be engaging and it has to have a lesson in the end.”

“I don’t know. There’s still got to be more to it than that.”

“Send it to me and I’ll tell you what I think.”

I agreed and sent it to her shortly thereafter, fully expecting an Unfortunately to follow.

When the conference ended, my expectations concerning my pitch session were actually worse that I predicted. I didn’t get a partial request, but I did get that most vile, wretched and loathsome word.

A few days, not weeks, passed, and I got a message from Michelle. She loved The Daisy Flower and thought it had potential marketability. However, she wanted to do some research because she’d never worked with children’s picture books before.

On June 5, 2013, exactly one month after DFWCon ’13, Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency offered me representation.

And it’s for a series of children’s stories based on a bedtime story I told my daughters on a random night in 2010 that I decided to write out the next day.

So at the 2013 DFW Writers Conference, despite knowing exactly what was going to happen, I met with a literary agent I didn’t have an appointment with, stumbled unknowingly into a pitch I never intended to make and now have representation in the publishing industry.

Fortunately for me, it’s not a bad way to be proven wrong.

Great job David, and we hope you the best success.

David Justin is a mild-mannered minion for the Evil Galactic Empire by day and an ink-slinging raconteur for 828 Web Design by night.  He and his clothing-optional bunnies can be found on Twitter under @davidcambron and online at

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