While we prepare for our next member interview, I thought we could consider how to make attending writing conferences worth your while. Fall is a great time to find a conference.
This is a picture from last weekends Ozark Romance Authors Conference in Springfield MO. It's a great and very affordable conference in the heart of Ozark Mountain Country. Check it out here:
If you live too far away from this conference, get online and search for writer conferences. There are ones all over the country and even on cruise ships. Wouldn't that be fun!
Here are some tips.
- If you can afford it, stay in the hotel where the conference is. Many times there is a reduced rate for attendees. Not only does this eliminate driving so much, you are sure to meet other attendees staying there and maybe make some lifelong friends. Or make important connections with the speakers.
- Pack a sweater - especially if you tend to run cold. Conference rooms are notoriously chilly. And wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Most conferences these days are pretty laid back in their dress code. But check ahead and make sure if there is a cocktail party or banquet, you are prepared with a little nicer attire.
- Take notes, lots of notes. Something may not resonate with you at the time, but later, a light bulb might go off and give you a great idea or inspire you in some way.
- At lunch, try to snag a table with one of the speakers. You will hear things and learn things that aren't necessarily in their presentation. It is also a chance for you to stand out from the crowd.
- If pitch sessions are available, please sign up. You may be nervous or maybe your work isn't quite done, but that's okay. Who knows what connection you will make or offer you will get.
- If author tables are present, be sure and visit them during breaks. Hopefully you have extra money to spend on books. If not, it's okay just to visit and ask them questions. Many also offer free stuff, like candy!
- Raise your hand - ask questions. There is no reason to leave a conference without your brain packed full of information.
Most of all - have fun. Take an extra day to explore the town you are visiting. When you get home, look up the connections you made online - either their web page, blog, Twitter or Facebook page. Keep in touch - these people could help you along your writing journey.