Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing Conference Preperation


A couple months ago, I wrote a blog post about networking opportunities available at writing conferences, and how to get ready for them. Since I have my first big conference of the year in less than two weeks (LDStorymakers), I thought it would be good to re-post that information.

Before The Conference
Before the conference is where you do your homework and make your battle plan. I recommend that you have the following networking preparation done before the conference.
  • Research attendees & plan interactions
  • Order business cards
  • Prepare your log line & elevator pitch
  • Plan 'must-see' presentations
  • Set conference goals
Research Attendees & Plan Interactions
On the conference website, they'll provide a list of the publishers, editors, agents, and authors that are attending the conference. Make a prioritized list of who is from where and what you want to talk with them about.

Order Business Cards
Business cards are critical because this is how everyone you meet will remember you. You want a professional looking card with multiple ways to contact you.
  • Mailing address
  • Home & cell phone numbers
  • e-mail
  • Website
  • Social networking sites
Your card says a lot about you, make sure it says what it should. You can go with a specialty design, just be sure it doesn't hurt your cards readability. Check out the following sites for design suggestions:
How To Design Your Business Card
11 Tutorials for Business Card Design
Business Card Design
Prepare Your Log Line & Elevator Pitch
Preparing your log line and pitch information... I'm not sure I'm the one to teach these (yet, at least). But if you're going to network, you need to have these ready. Learn how and be prepared!

Plan 'Must-See' Presentations
Meeting Author J. Scott Savage
Your main task at a conference is to network, not joy ride. That said, there may be some very good information being presented at the conference, especially by authors and publishers you want to schmooze. Pick which presentations you need (like that one on blood spatter) from the conference schedule and let the others slide.

Set Conference Goals
I recommend prioritizing your goals by setting nine: three 'A' goals, three 'B' goals, and three 'C' goals. Nine is only a suggestion and you could have more or less depending on your needs. The 'A' goals take precedence over 'B' and 'B' over 'C.'
A #1 - Pitch to Susan Chang, YA Editor for TOR Books
A #2 - Pitch Lou Anders, Editorial Director - Pyr Books
A #3 - Sign up for Kaffeeklatch with Susan Chang
B #1 - Invite J. Scott Savage to lunch with writing group
B #2 - Pitch to Lee Harris, Angry Robot Editor
B #3 - Host meet & greet with other aspiring authors
C #1 - Attend blood splatter workshop, Sat. 4pm, room A204
C #2 - Talk to Shaun Ferrell about advertising on Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing
C #3 - Attend TOR room party
 Note: Don't monopolize people's time. Learn how to politely approach, query, and get out of conversations without being a pest.

Sound Off
What goals have you planned for this year's round of writing conferences? Which goal are you most scared to accomplish? Who do you most want to approach? What topic are you looking forward to learning more about?

6 comments:

  1. What goals do I have this year? So far, for Storymakers, I've picked out a really cute cardigan. :)
    I'd better get my pitch ready since I get to sit at the VIP table. ACK! Butterflies suddenly attacked my tummy when I wrote that!

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  2. WOW! That's an awesome opportunity Taffy! Crap... Now I need to schmooze you too. ;)

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  3. This is awesome advice, Tony! I think I just might have to repost this link.

    How am I getting ready? Well, I need to go clothes shopping, so Taffy's one up on me there. :) And I have a ton-a-ton of PowerPoint presentations to put together. The class I'm teaching is in the bag. Mostly I need clothes. :) :)

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  4. Shoot. Now I'm worried what I'm going to wear. :)

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  5. Tony, your pink cardigan is super cute! ;P

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