Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What NOT to do at a writers conference

BoucherconAttending a writers conference soon? You can find all kinds of "top ten things you need to know/do at a writers conference," but it’s hard to find things you’re not supposed to do. I thought I’d write that list for a change.
1.    Don’t walk in cold.
Do your homework: read up on the agents and editors attending so you’ll know which ones to stalk…er…sit by and chat with.

Angry typewriter
2.    Don’t forget your basic writer tools.
You’ll need a couple of pens,  a notepad, perhaps your lightweight laptop or iPad, and a big cool bag to carry everything in.

3.     Don’t wear your Halloween costume.
This is a business meeting. Don’t dress up in an attempt to impress an agent or editor with your “creativity.” Do that on paper.

4.    Don’t ignore the lonely attendee in the corner.
You’re there to schmooze with everyone, so take a minute to say “Hello, what are you writing?” when you find yourself next to someone. You never know what you’ll learn.

Heavy book
5.    Don’t bring your ten-pound tome.
If you must, bring your query letter to hand out to agents and editors who seem interested. But they don’t want to cart around your book. Send it by e-mail after you get home.

6.    Don’t be shy when pitching your book.
I know it’s terrifying. But practice and practice until you don’t sound rehearsed any more, and be ready to give your spiel to anyone who will listen.

Keep calm
7.    Don’t drive yourself crazy.
Take breaks, sip some tea, stay calm and have a cupcake—whatever works to help you de-stress from all the information you’ll be bombarded with. You need time to process everything. And again, you might pick up even more valuable information listening to others discuss what they’ve learned.
Business card-tomato
8.    Don’t hand out silly business cards.
Keep the cards simple, with all your contact info, but leave off the cutesy stuff, the word “author/writer”—or a “copyright” symbol…

9.    Don’t forget to send thank you notes to people you met, via email or snail mail, and keep in touch occasionally, with a question or link to an interesting site (no funny cats or laughing babies). But don’t be a pest.

Party couple
10.    Don’t have fun….
I’m KIDDING! Try to enjoy yourself while attending the conference. Remember, you’re there to learn, make new friends, be inspired, and party! You’re not trying to land a plane in the middle of the a river where lives are at risk. That kind of tension should be saved for your story. Writing should be fun!


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