Monday, July 20, 2015

Conference Ready!

image by Sebastiaan tur Burg via Flickr

This week I'm attending a wonderful conference in my area. It's the DFW Writers Conference hosted by the DFW Writers Workshop. They're a wonderful organization and have helped many writers hone their craft.

I like to do a couple of things when preparing for a conference. Here's some quick and easy things to keep the anxiety low.

1. Realize all the people attending are human beings.

That might be difficult for some people. I understand. But once you mentally realize this, speaking to strangers becomes easy. They too make mistakes and have bad hair days. No one is perfect! Embrace that!

2. Prepare pitches!

I like to have several pitch options. By creating a one sentence, one paragraph, and two paragraph pitch, you have lots to chose from! Use the one sentence pitch for mingling with other writers, agents, and editors. If they seem interested in your idea, go with the one or two paragraph pitch!

Nathan Bransford has great advice about writing these pitches on his blog.

3. Have some business cards with your information.

Cards are an easy way to share your personal information with others. An email address and blog or website are all that's necessary. Most attendants won't call you or send you anything in the mail. Be aware that you probably don't need a thousand of business cards. Twenty or so should be fine. If you run out, don't panic! People have cell phones. They can take your info, or you can write down theirs. Plus, you don't want to pass them out to everyone. Trust me, you don't want to be that weird, crazy person everyone talks about afterward. :)

4. Remember to have fun!

Yes! It is possible! You can have fun at a conference, even if you're an introvert, which most writers are! You're not alone! Other introverts are just as scared as you. Smile. Be polite. It'll be great!

5. Research the agents, editors, presenters or keynote speakers, and authors! *winks at Rina*

You'll want to know who to pitch! And it doesn't hurt to know about their latest project, random fetish, love (or hatred) of coffee, or favorite color. You might find something you have in common (other than your love of books) that'll make a great conversation starter. If there are multiple classes, a little research on the presenter will help you decide which workshop to take.

6. Don't badger agents and editors.

Be yourself. People will like you! You don't have to pitch every agent and editor you see. Ask them about their airplane ride, the weather, or their favorite book. Put them at ease. It might lead to something great. It might just be an enjoyable chat. Don't panic! You can always query them later.

7. Take notes.

You're there to learn. Pay attention! Be a student for the weekend and absorb wisdom from the awesome authors, agents, and editors that are there for you. If you listen, you might get published!

That's about it, folks. If you have any other great tips, I'd love to hear about them!