Guest Post by Sally Jadlow
Attending a conference is an expensive step, so you need to get your ducks in a row in order to get the most bang for your buck.
1. Most conferences offer an early-bird discount. Go online to find the discounts and speakers for the conference you want to attend. Don’t put off registering if you want to be sure to get that discount. Time tends to slip by and you don’t want to miss out.
2. Study the speakers and choose what sessions you plan to attend. So that you continue to grow as a writer, choose at least one speaker that is outside you genre.
3. Some conferences allow face-to-face meetings with an editor. Pick the one or ones you want to meet and write a short speech, perhaps two or three sentences to tell what your book or article is about. This is called an elevator speech because it’s short enough to say between floors on an elevator to an editor. Practice it so you can deliver it without stumbling.
4. Make an information sheet to present to the editor when you have your appointment. At the top, put your name the name of your article/book. Then, type your elevator speech. In the next paragraph, tell something about yourself and why you are qualified to write this book or article. Did you personally live this book? Are you an expert in the field you wrote this article about? At the bottom, put your contact information. Avoid fancy fonts or bright-colored paper. Leave this sheet with the editor. Do thank him for his time, no matter the outcome of the appointment.
5. Meeting editors and agents and is only one reason to attend a conference. Take advantage of every class you can. In order to keep a good focus, wear comfortable clothes and get enough rest. Taking notes either on a laptop or spiral notebook helps you remember the material covered.
6. Take business cards to share with people you meet. I find networking one of the most important reasons to attend a conference. If you don’t have business cards you can order them from www.vistaprint.com or www.gotprint.com. You might want to get creative and order book marks instead of cards. They don’t have to be fancy. You name and contact information is sufficient. If you have a book to promote, you might want to print the cover of the book and the buy information on the card.
7. When you return home, organize your notes so you can refer to them later.
8. Writing a thank you note to a particularly helpful person cements you in their mind.
9. If you attended a session outside you genre, try your hand at creating a piece based on what you learned.
10. Try to apply three new techniques you picked up at the conference.
Sally Jadlow teaches creative writing at Matt Ross Community Center in Overland Park, KS. She is also the author of The Late Sooner, a historical fiction, God’s Little Miracle Book, and God’s Little Miracle Book II, available at Amazon.com. Her website is www.SallyJadlow.com