Back At My Computer
Over the past couple of weeks, I've been on the faculty of a couple of different writers conferences in Colorado and North Carolina. It meant nine straight days on the road away from home. I came home for two days.
Last Sunday I flew to Buffalo, New York and drove an hour and a half to the small town of Houghton which is in Southwestern New York State. For four hours I spoke last Monday morning to a class at Houghton College, then I did my Sunday trip in reverse getting home to Phoenix late Monday night.
This past week, I've been on the phone and computer attempting to get my various book projects for Intermedia on track. While it's not totally under control, it is getting there and I'm grateful. The work has left no time for these entries on the Writing Life.
I've met many people over the last few weeks and I've been adding their names, emails and addresses into my rolodex. If you are headed to a writers conference in the weeks ahead, let me give you some of my insights about exchanging information with the editor.
1. You'd be surprised the number of people who want one of my business cards (which I freely gave) yet did not plan ahead and bring cards to the conference. Instead of letting that person off the hook so they didn't give me their contact information, I collected their email and phone and address in my notebook. If you want to be professional with the faculty at a conference, plan ahead and bring your business cards.
2. When you create your business card, completeness is much more important than a fancy appearance for the card. One writer gave me a business card and the typeface had so many curls in it (so it would appear to be fancy) that it was almost impossible to read it.
Another book author included her name, address, phone and website on her business card--but was missing her email address. I wanted to connect with this author on email so it forced me to go to her website and look around until I found the email address. It should have been on her business card in the first place. Many editors will not make the effort that I made to connect with this author--and she's probably unaware that her business card is missing her email address. Make a point to check and double check your business card to make sure it has all of the critical information.
Another tech oriented writer neglected to include his email on his business card. I went to one of his websites and all I could find was his twitter account. While I like and use Twitter, I was looking for an email address. I had to search another one of his websites before I located the email address. Many others will give up instead of pursuing and collecting this type of information.
The follow-up is where the actual work comes to fruition. I am actively returning to these business cards and the handwritten contact information to re-connect with these individuals. Why? From my experience, it is only through the on-going development of the relationship and my interest in their work that we end up working together on a project. It's one of the critical steps that many writers neglect--to their own detriment.
Yes, it's terrific to get to meet different people at these writers conferences but what active steps are you taking to reconnect and follow-up on the ideas you discussed? It is the difference between dreaming and putting reality to your dreams from my perspective.