You’re far more, shall we say, invested. It’s different when your company sends you to a conference that you may or may not be enthused about. You’re less inclined to squeeze every last ounce of usefulness out of the experience, and more inclined to check your emails instead of listening to speakers.
I just returned from the 2017 San Francisco Writers Conference. As a former corporate marketing and communications manager, I have attended several communications and PR conferences over the years, but this was my first conference for writers. And it completely blew me away. That’s putting it lightly.
I finished writing my nonfiction book, “When Medicine Meets Holy Matrimony: A Surgeon’s Wife Tells It Like It Is”, in October 2016, with the goal to be ready for SFWC17 in February.
The conference acted as a deadline that kept me working toward specific, time-sensitive goals.
Anyway, you came here looking for a checklist for your next writers conference: how to make the most of every minute and every penny. So, here we go.
1. Prepare. Prepare at least as much as you would for a job interview, if your goal is to be published. Each interaction you have with an agent, speaker, coach, or editor is your window of opportunity to make a positive impression. Start by researching who is attending the conference and create a list of people you would like to speak with and/or pitch your book to. Put them in a spreadsheet and be sure to copy and paste their photo into it so that when you see them grabbing their morning coffee at the event, you will recognize them and can say hello. Prepare to the point that you feel comfortable casually discussing your book with strangers.
Wishing you the best of luck with your writing and I hope to see you at a conference soon!
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