Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tips for Making the Most of a Writers' Convention

1. Make a list of goals or needs. Why are you attending this conference? Have some specific things you want to get out of it. Some ideas:
* meet publishers
* find a critique partner or group
* get more marketing ideas
* meet illustrators
* specific things you want to learn

2. Have a business card. Give one to everyone you talk to. In fact, have a pen handy always and write on the back: "Enjoyed talking to you about..." so they know why they have your card.

3. Take notes: Either on the back of their business cards or in a notebook or on your smart phone or... Get the person's contact info and write down what you talked to them about and why you want to follow up. It will be very handy when you get home!

4. Talk to authors: find out their stories, their issues, how you can help each other. What's working for them? What are their challenges?

5. See a radio station or podcaster? Ask them if they have an open slot! You could get some free advertising! If not, get their info and contact them after the convention.

6. Talk to the booksellers at the expo. Some might take a copy or two of your book on commission. Others might be run by the publisher themselves.

7. Go to the con suite if there is one. Meet people. Network. Have fun. Get free snacks. Can it get any better than that?

8. Bring advertising stuff for the freebie table. Bookmarks, etc. It doesn't cost anything to put them there--jsut be sure to gather the extras before you leave!

9. Know anyone getting a booth? In a group that might pitch in for a booth together? Make it happen.

10. Have fun! It's not all learning and networking. Relax and enjoy yourself. wear a costume (if it's that kind of convention) or a funny hat or vest. Some of the best stories come from conventions after hours.

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