Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Writing Conferences

First, I confess.  I love attending writing conferences.  Big ones, little ones, not so big ones.  Doesn't matter, I love 'em all.  Writing conferences combine two of my favorite things - chatting with writers and learning more about writing.  They're like mini vacations except when I get home, I want to write and put all that new knowledge to use.

Even if you are just starting out, I encourage you to find a nearby writer's conference and attend.  While you may not be ready to pitch to an agent or editor, you'll learn a lot and meet some great writers. 

Here's a few tips to make your conference experience the best it can be.

Know what you want to get from attending.  Do you want to pitch your book, attend the workshops or just network?

Study the scheduled classes/workshops and decide which you most want to attend.  This saves you from having to decide at the last minute between two workshops.

Pitching to an agent or editor?  Then be sure to research that person and find out what they are looking for.  Pitching a horror novel to a romance agent is waste of time.

Listen as much as possible.  But don't take everything as fact. 

Don't sit on the sidelines.   Take part in things.  Chat with the speakers and other authors.  If you see someone that looks lost, befriend them and have fun together.

Collect business cards and make notes of important information on the backside for later.

To find a conference near you, check out Shaw Guides.  You can also google your state with the words writing conferences.


V.R. Leavitt said...

Good tips. I love conferences too. It can be hard to mix and mingle since I think many writers are a little introverted, but it's well worth it! You can meet all sorts of cool people at these things.

Jaleta Clegg said...

These are great tips for SF/F conventions, which is mostly what I attend. Thanks, Jean!

JoElle Martín said...

One of these days I am going to go to a conference. I am. I am.

These are great tips!

Regarding collecting business cards, isn't it also a good idea to pass out your own cards? Especially if you've talked to agents?

~ JoElle the Elf

Jean said...

You should definitely take your own business cards and pass them out. And, if helps if YOU make the note on the back so the person will remember you.

The thing about agents/editors is they have to travel so are limited to what they can carry and yeah, a business card isn't that much but what about keeping up with 20-30 or more?

From what I've read, unless they really are interested in whatever you present them, they'll toss the card later.

Of course, if they ask, be sure to have one ready.

And, they should be professional. Remember you are trying to establish a business relationship. Keep your cute puppies, kittens and so forth off your "business" cards.

Jean said...
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kathy stemke said...

More great tips. Thanks. I also like the Shaw link!

Cheryl said...

Great post, Jean. Having attended my first in person conference last year, I think I might become an addict. I really love them.

The Muse Online Conference is also fabulous. It will take place in October again this year. It's totally online and free--though donations are appreciated.

Thanks for sharing the link to Shaw Guides too!