A Room Full of Ideas
Do writers need any more ideas? Always is my answer. We can always use more connections and relationships. You never know when you will need a particular relationship or connection. It’s another reason I head to New York City each year for the American Society of Journalists and Author meetings. The last several conferences have included an Idea Marketplace.
As a kid, I loved to go to the county fair and wander through the exhibits. I always picked up a yardstick and some other little gadgets. The various vendors came to the fair so they could show off their latest products, take orders and remind the public of their existence.
The Idea Marketplace at the ASJA conference holds exactly the same sort of idea—yet it is completely targeted to the writing community. For example, I picked up a lot of great information and contacts with potential sources for future stories. It was fascinating to wander through and look at the various exhibitors. If you come to this conference, it’s always a good idea to circle through the various exhibits early in the day—when the exhibitors are fresh and also when they have plenty of giveaway items.
I picked up various press kits and contact information for different types of possible stories. Also I picked up some fascinating little gadgets. For example, I have a new mousepad from the Copyright Clearance Center which is colorful with a pair of glasses like Benjamin Franklin wore on the top of a handwritten document. I love the quotation on it: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing,” Benjamin Franklin.
Also Clemson University News Service was exhibiting. One unusual item was a name holder that you could wear around your neck (perfect for some future conferences) but it also includes a place for some business cards and even a pen. I thought it was clever. Or I’m always a fan of the giveaways at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Besides their attractive bone pens (yes it’s a pen in the shape of a bone), they had small pads with a pen. Or maybe you need some data on the current health trends and wanted to touch base with the U.S. Department of health and Human Services. They were giving away CDs loaded with such information.
The prize little gadget from my perspective came from the Texas Children’s Hospital. Now their press kit was a huge box with three plastic crayons stuffed with news releases. I didn’t think I could such a package into my suitcase. But the small hard rubber ball was the prize. With their logo and name on the outside, it was clear and when you bounce it, red lights begin to flash. It will be perfect for one of our grandchildren and I will always remember the Texas Children’s Hospital—so the gadget worked.
I’ve given you another glimpse into the American Society of Journalists and Authors conference and hopefully motivated you to put it on your calendar for 2007–-April 21 and 22 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.