Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Here’s my last list of conference advice for you! It’s a good idea to know what you’re getting yourself into before you attend a conference. I suggest you follow these suggestions to make the most of your conference experience:
1) Get enough rest before and during the conference. Even though I know I need rest, I find myself packing my bags until 3 am the night before the conference. I’m trying to change my ways–do you need to change yours? Conferences are exhausting. If you start out exhausted, you’re going to end up crashing. During the conference, remember to get enough sleep. Allow extra time for falling to sleep if you have trouble sleeping in a new place. Don’t take that extra hour before bed to chat with friends, if you’re going to suffer for it the next morning. (Starbucks isn’t always available at conferences!)
2) Set goals. Write down what you want to accomplish before you attend the conference. Often, conferees get so nervous that they don’t fulfill the dreams they had for the conference. If you have your goals written down, you can’t change them as easily once your nerves start talking. If you want to speak to a certain agent, write down that goal. Make the list in order of importance and try to accomplish at least your first two goals. It’s also easy to get wrapped up in the busy-ness of the conference to the point that you forget why you went in the first place. Having your goals on a note card will help to keep you focused.
3) Don’t set unreasonably high expectations for a conference and then think the conference is a failure when your expectations aren’t met. A conference is a time of learning. Yes, at times authors do find an agent at a conference and sometimes proposals are requested, but the one thing that is guaranteed at a conference is that you will learn something new. Publication is a process. It’s usually a very long road, and the writers’ conference is just one portion of the journey.
4) Do your research before the conference. Find out who’s going to be there. Figure out what the agents and editors are looking for. This will help you to make your appointments with the appropriate people. You should be able to find faculty information on the conference webpage, and you can do more research on the various agency and publisher websites.
Have fun learning more about your writing craft!
Do you have any writers’ conference experiences (good or bad) you would like to share?
Fun Fact About Rachel:
I’m not a morning person, and I totally need my coffee every day. I used to think this was a secret, but this last year for my birthday nearly every gift I received was a Starbucks gift card. At a conference I’ll be the person who shows up last for breakfast (because I couldn’t drag myself out of bed) and runs to the coffee pot. The coffee near the bottom of the pot is the strongest anyway–right?