Wednesday, August 18, 2010

First Time for a Writer's Conference?

Last week, I put out the distress signal, calling all writerly friends to share any advice they had for a first time conference goer. I'm shaking in my flip-flops, people. I'm sure as the conference (which is in October) gets closer that adrenaline will replace anxiety (fingers crossed) and that I will be a lot more confident! In the meantime, I did a little research, and I'm here to share the wealth.

I now present, TIPS FOR FIRST TIME CONFERENCE GOERS by YOU, the readers. I took the liberty of only including the advice parts of your comments, which were LOVELY, by the way. Look for highlights in bold!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Only advice I have is prepare as much as possible and bring business cards, a one-sheet, your first chapter...think that's about it. And be yourself...they'll love you!!!

Jennifer Shirk said...  

Wear comfy shoes. Dress in layers--in case it's cold or hot in the speaking rooms. Bring a bag that has a folder with note paper for notes, pens, and cough drops or candy in case your throat gets dry from talking and meeting people.

Kay Richardson said...
I went to a conference once. Had too much to drink and made a pass at a senior publisher. My advice would be to avoid doing similar.
Karen said...
Tips-Bring notebook, things to write notes and names, if you have business cards, bring those (they are handy when talking to editors, agents...), and meet as many people as you can. We ( ) have several "evergreen" posts on attending conferences. You're gonna love it!!
Laura said...
So excited for you! Writers conferences were really the beginning for me. Check out this post:   It's got some great ideas. My suggestion? After you've packed everything on your list, stick some chocolate in your suitcase!

Diane J. said...

Advice? Smile. Attend any receptions (you meet quite a few people that way), if you have the chance to do a pitch do it (one of the workshops I'm attending this year is Pitch Party - how to deliver an in-person pitch, I'm planning on pitching next year at the bigger conference, so I'm thrilled I got in this class.) Don't bring too many books, you'll end up buying some while you're there and your bags will be heavy heading home.

Colleen, over at Fiction Flurry , had this to say in response to a comment I made on her post about Writers Conferences: "My best tip is number prepared. If you are meeting with agents, look up their website and be aware of what they are looking for. Also, it doesn't hurt to practice your "elevator pitch". The more at ease you are with it, the better chance you have of selling it!"

Now, for a few things I found just poking around:

  1. The Guide to Literary Agents blog has a WEALTH of information. Just go to the site , scroll down on the left and click on Writers' Conferences. 
  2. I found this article on Conference Etiquette and this list of 8 Things to Maximize Networking at Conferences at suite 101 .
  3. Here's an article with writers conference advice from an editorial director at Random House Children's Books (which is relevant, even if you aren't writing children's books).

Feel free to add any new tips in the comments. Thanks to everyone who responded. I hope this was helpful to you!

*** Absolutely NO IDEA why this post got all out of format, but hope it helps anyway!***


  1. Thanks for the post! I've only been to one conference before and that was a single day compilation of classes and a panel to ask questions. No pitching or anything like that. first BIG conference is coming up in September and I'm so nervous! I'd definitely agree with those who say be prepared. It's much better to have prepared too much than not enough.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I'm off to read all the links.

  3. Go knowing that God will lead you in the right direction and have you connect with the right people. :O)

  4. You can never go wrong with chocolate in your suitcase! Thanks for passing the advice on to us.

  5. Make efforts to get to know other writers. Introduce yourself and include people you meet in conversations. I think of conferences as less about how I can sell my books and more about how can I make meaningful connections with others.