If you’re a writer, attending writers’ conferences can benefit your efforts to be successful.
Conferences are offered throughout the country each year. Each is unique. You’ll find some that offer a little bit of everything for writers at every level. Some are large, some remain intentionally small. You’ll find workshops (hands-on) and panels (Q&A). Topics range from the big-picture view of the writing business as a whole down to topic-specific.
Since there are many conferences to choose from, researching what fits you best is imperative. If you’re an animal writer, attending a travel writer’s conference probably won’t do you much good. Your budget is also important. Traveling to a con adds a lot of additional expenses that can’t be ignored.
Once you know where you’re going and when, spend time preparing.
Sometimes conferences will post names of attendees. You can start networking with people before you meet them by taking advantage of social media. Connect with them, if you can, on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.
As I mentioned last week, planning is great, but be wary of wanting to do it all. It can be enticing to want to pitch to every editor and panelist. But you’re only human (and you need sleep). Focus in on a few professionals you absolutely want to meet.
At the conference:
- Ask intelligent questions. Show the person you are speaking with that you know what magazine or publisher she represents. Sincerity goes a long way to turning an initial contact into a long-lasting relationship.
- Have a business or small note card ready. Write the dated and place you met the person on the back to help the person remember you after the conference.
- Attend with an open mind. You make the best choices you when planning ahead, but once at the conference, you will (most likely) learn something new or find a contact that fits your goals better. Sometimes, the most successful (and fun!) meeting is the one you don’t anticipate.
- Be yourself and enjoy the process of starting new relationships and friendships, especially at a banquet or a social gathering.
These are just a few more pointers I can recommend. Writers conferences exist for everyone. Of course we here on the SinCNE blog are partial to The New England Crime Bake, but there are lots of other conferences for mystery (and all) writers out there. I’ve always found Shaw Guides a great place to start my search.
Do you have any tips for how to make the most of a writer’s conference?