Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb Tweet List: Conference Tips

Here are all the conference tips I tweeted in the month of February. Hope they help some of you:

1. Here's an incredibly detailed list of things to do to prepare for a conference or convention:
2. Conference tip: Have physical materials to hand out--something with your name, website, book & its order info. Even a business card will do.
3. Conference tip: Memorize 30 second explanations of your books--those to pitch to an editor you meet & those to explain to a potential reader
4. Conference tip: On your nametag, add a book title, motto, even a doodle w/your name. It breaks the ice and provides a conversation starter.
5. Make sure your website, and social network sites are up-to-date. People will check up on your during and after conferences.
6. Swallow your shyness. Talk to folks. Ask them about their works, compliment their costume or something they said in a panel. If you're really shy, enlist the help of an outgoing friend.
7. Take notes on the people you meet: Jot down what you talked about. What are their interests?. Did you promise them something or visa-versa? Get their contact info. I often do this on the back of their business cards.
8. Ask folks about their work. You'll learn a lot and reflect favorably in their eyes. Also, connect people when you can. Talk favorably about other people's works. Building up others builds you up, too.
9. Ask folks what you can do for them. Do you review books? Let others guest blog on your site? If you're writing into he same genre, can you trade promotional materials to take to your own signings?
Here are some more tips on talking to people at conferences:
10. Follow-up. After the conference, write to all the people you met--thank them, follow-up on conversations, keep promises and remind them of promises made. Make a note to contact them next year at conference time.
11. Call the organizers ahead of time and offer to be on panels. Send them your qualifications and don't be afraid to offer to jump in if someone has to bow out.
12. Contact the book sellers attending and see if you can bring them some copies of your book to sell on commission at their booth.
13. Contact the local radio and TV stations and see if they might be interested in interviewing you.
14. Contact local bookstores and see if you can arrange a signing during (or just before or after) the conference.
15. Pack a small emergency kit: sewing supplies, Tylenol, tums, tissue... Not only will these come in handy for you, but for others as well. Be the hero!
16. Pack water bottles and light snacks. Easy way to save a few bucks.
17. Find out if there's a hospitality room and make a point to drop by and talk to folks there.
18. Freebie table? Think of others. By this, I mean if you know someone who might be interested in the freebie, snag it for them. You'll promote the author and help a friend.
19. Tweet to Meet! I know people at conventions who tweet their location and a request to meet folks. It's amazing how they hook up with others.
20. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes! Layer. Don't carry a lot of heavy stuff.
21. Heavy freebies or midday shopping spree? Ask at the concierge desk if they will hold your items for you for the day. (I learned this the day AFTER dragging around 40 lbs of books at WFC.)
22. Contact your local indie bookstore. Let them know you're attending the convention and see if they're interested in you taking anything or bringing them back anything.
23. Eat in the convention cafeteria at least once during high-traffic hours. Sit by someone you don't know if they seem amenable.
24. Someone you want to meet at the convention? Do some research on them so you can talk intelligently. This is especially true with agents and publishers.
25. Coffee is casual. Lunch is a commitment. If you want to keep a conversation going, invite the person to get a coffee or soda rather than join you for a full meal.
26. Let your social networks know ahead of time that you're going. See who else is. Get their contact info (cell phone number) or arrange a place to meet. Then you can start off with buddies!
27. Get out of the convention center! Enjoy the area! Check out other writing contacts. For example, I got to visit Ignatius Press and have dinner with a Tim Powers and his fans the day before WFC.
28. Set some goals for the convention. Know what you want to get out of it: Who do you want to meet? What do you want to learn? How do you hope to make this convention worth the money and time?

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