You’ll usually find listings for upcoming writers’ conferences on the Internet by state or topic. Various local writers’ guilds or libraries should also have listings. You can often find the conference theme, speakers, special events, location, and costs on these sites.
1. First, think about your top three reasons for attending a conference? Be intentional in choosing those conferences that match. Conferences are sometimes genre specific (Children’s books, YA, Sci-Fi, Romance, History). Most offer a variety of topics. If so, this is a good place to explore other genres or just focus on sessions that interest you.
2. Study the speaker bios and their session listings in the schedule. Workshop descriptions give you an idea of content, speakers experience as author/agent/publisher and their industry involvement.
3. Most sessions are open for everyone—however, the most popular fill up early. Handouts may be limited. If offered, register for specific workshops.
4. Registration is often required for “Pitch” sessions with agents or publishers. Sign up early to ensure you have an appointment. These sessions offer a rare opportunity to meet face-to-face with professionals in the industry. (Series 4 will focus on how to successfully “pitch.”)
5. Bring your best smile and wear your most comfortable walking shoes. May sound frivolous but a lot of walking is needed especially when the conference is spread out over a large hotel. Smile, make eye contact, show interest in other writers, and practice your response to the inevitable question, “And what do you write?”
Marilyn H. Collins—author, workshop leader, publisher, writing coach, editorial services www.marilynhcollins.com. Contact: www.marilynhcollins.com/contact
Copyright © CHS Publishing, Marilyn H. Collins, 2017.