Blogger: Rachel Kent
Registration for a significant fiction writers conference opened this week, and quite a few of my clients have been emailing me asking for advice. I bet many of you have similar conference concerns. So today I have some pre-conference advice for you. How do you prepare?
1) When you select whom you’ll request appointments with, research beyond just reading an agent or editor’s brief description on the conference website. Check out websites, tweets, and blogs for those agents and editors. You’ll develop a better idea of who they are, which can help you to narrow down your top choices. Also, make sure that all of the agents and editors you request to meet are actually looking for what you’re writing. If you do have an agent, you should check in with him or her before finalizing your choices because sometimes agents have had discussions about your book with the editors that you aren’t aware of or know, because of recent conversations, what editors are looking for.
2) Don’t forget to pack a few pens and a pad of paper. You’ll need these for your appointments. Don’t just bring one pen. They’re too easy to lose! During appointments, I’m often asked by the author I’m meeting with if he or she can borrow my pen to write down what I’m saying. That isn’t usually a problem, but it is a little unprofessional.
3) Bring a shoulder bag so you can easily carry your conference materials. Ladies, I suggest having a large conference tote so you only have one bag to carry. Only carry what you need so you don’t hurt your body.
4) Print out a few extra copies of your one-sheet and proposal just in case an editor or agent would like to take a copy. Most editors and agents will request that you send the materials to them after the conference, but I have heard of some who take the proposals right away. (No need to print and carry a copy of your complete manuscript!)
5) Purchase a name tag lanyard to bring to the conference. These are reusable and really help to keep your dressy conference clothes nice.
6) If it’s possible, pick your conference workshops ahead of time so you can start to mentally prepare, but remain flexible in case during faculty introductions you feel that you’ve made a wrong decision. Most conferences will let you change your workshops on the first day.
7) Last suggestion: Don’t pack the night before the conference. I fail at this all the time, but it’s so important. Conferences are exhausting, and if you’re up late packing, you aren’t getting the essential rest you need to prepare for the conference. Plus, if you pack the night before, there’s no opportunity to run to the store for last-minute necessities.
I hope these tips are helpful!
For those of you who have been to a conference before, is there anything else you would like to add to this list?
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