Attending writers’ conferences can be fun and exhilarating. Cons can also be nerve-wracking, stressful, and overwhelming… if you don’t have a plan.
I thought I’d share some tips for prepping for attending a writing conference — as I’m in the process of preparing to attend this year’s New England Crime Bake. This is just one of a few posts on how I’m getting organized.
Once you’ve identified a conference, registered, and made travel/accommodation arrangements, it’s time to get into the details.
Whether it’s a one-day or multiday conference, the method is the same:
- Gather the names of the panelists, agents, publishers, and authors who will be speaking
- Research the agents, publishers, editors, and authors who will be speaking
- Make notes (on cards or in a notebook) on each person you want to meet
- Organize the names into a list so you know your top priorities
- Review the schedule and see where time is scheduled for attendees to meet panelists – will any of those times give you the chance to meet who you want to meet?
- Review the schedule for free time, and see what is before and after those blocks of times – those are great opportunities to catch a panelist
- Print out the (or draft your own) conference schedule and write in the names (or highlight them if they are listed) of the people you plan to meet. [I like using green highlight for the people I definitely want to strive to meet during the conference, yellow for the next top names, and pink for the rest]
Of course there’s the option of showing up to a conference and “enjoying” the moments as they come, however, I can guarantee missed opportunities with that method. ‘Going with the flow’ may reap surprises, but if your goal is to be published, you need a plan.
And the plan is strictly for creating opportunities to meet the professionals you want to meet. The goal is to thoroughly enjoy your conference experience, make new friends, enjoy the treats, and leave the conference feeling you spent your time and money well.
If you have any questions, please contact me — lisahaselton at gmail(dot)com. I became a fan of the New England Crime Bake conference a few years ago and I’m the registrar this year. I can help get you squared away before and during the conference.
Stay tuned for more tips!