I've signed up for a writer's conference now what?

This weekend during DFW's Fledgling Writer's Camp I had the pleasure of presenting five steps to enhance a conference-goers experience. For newer writers out in the blogosphere, I wanted to share my quick steps with you.

The first would be to research what kind of conference fits your writing genre and market. Is it fiction or nonfiction? Do you write for the Christian Booksellers Association or American Booksellers Association? How much time do you have to spend attending a conference? A day, weekend or a week? Will you stay local, branch out farther to a national conference or travel to an international conference? Cue the Jeopardy music . . .

After you've decided, you'll need to take some "accessories" with you such as your smartphone, laptop, writing implements, business cards, your one-sheet (back cover blurb with your tagline, headshot, contact information and photo associated with the book theme). During some conferences, when you meet with an industry professional you'll need to bring a query letter and first three chapters of your manuscript. (Make sure to check what each agent and editor of a publishing house requires that you sign up to meet). 

Practice and ready your "pitch." This is important because everyone you get to know will want to hear about what you're writing. The information to include:  the genre, plot, hero and heroine, and the reasons why your manuscript will make people want to read it. 😃

Download the conference app, if available, you'll get a handy map of the event space, for geographically challenged persons (I know I'm not alone) it's a life-saver.

During the conference, attend all the functions, meet new people, writers need community too! If it gets too overwhelming, find a quiet place to rest and relax, maybe read a good book as well.

Afterward, celebrate! You've made lots of new friends, learned more about the craft of writing and collected many memorable moments to cherish.

Then, after a few days, connect with those great people you met during the conference on social media. Send those thank you e-mails to the industry professionals who took the time to meet with you. Also, if you've been asked to submit to an agent or editor, do so in a timely manner making sure to reference which conference in the subject header and in the body of the note.

When you start to feel the conference bug . . . start planning for your next one!

Whichever one you choose to attend, enjoy, and have a wonderful time!   

My question for you-which conferences have you attended or would like to attend?



  1. Thanks for your good hints on getting ready. There is a knot in my stomach already. I'll have to practice my pitch on Reno but while he might get bored and stomp his hooves, he won't have anything negative to say! Maybe that should be neigh-gative! I have lots of time to get prepared-right?

    1. You're welcome Barbara. I love the pun, please give Reno a hug from me : ) You have lots of time still left. I promise, writing conferences are fun. I still get excited to meet some of my favorite authors and this will be my third time at conference : )


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