Monday, February 27, 2012

Tips for Writer’s Conferences

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Although it’s tough for me to get away, I really enjoy going to writer’s conferences. I love the chance to see other writers in person, since most of my interaction is online.

Saturday, I went to the Book ‘Em conference in Lumberton, NC. It was a great event--well-organized and well-attended.

Benefits of conferences:

Meeting readers and meeting other writers.

Meeting formerly-virtual friends. I loved meeting L. Diane Wolfe, who I’ve known for years online…it was wonderful to finally meet her in person. (And she’s just as fun, vibrant, energetic, genuine, and nice as she seems online. Thanks to Diane’s husband for taking this picture of us.)

Informative panels: I hear interesting perspectives on the publishing industry and the writing craft when I go to conferences.

Connecting with industry professionals: Some writing conferences can be good places for unpublished writers to find agents and publishers. (Usually the larger ones…and you’ll need to make a reservation in advance for a formal pitch session.)


Bring business cards. Because you’ll need them. (I forgot mine. Sigh.)

If you’re published, know in advance how the book sales will be handled. Should you bring your own books? Will the venue be ordering books? Will you be handling the sales, yourself (in which case you need to bring change) or will there be a bookstore handling them?

Keep your receipts for tax write-offs.

Bring water with you if you’re on a panel.

Pick your conferences carefully. Getting to conferences can be expensive, so I’d recommend finding conferences that are a good fit for what you write and aren’t too far away, geographically.

Pace yourself. And wear comfortable shoes.

Have you been to any conferences? What tips can you add?