Sunday, June 17, 2018

Four Actions After A Conference

The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College

This weekend I traveled home from Write To Publish, held on the campus of Wheaton College at the Billy Graham Center. Off and on, I've been going to this event for many years but had not been for two or three years. Throughout the event, I spent time with old friends, met many new ones and spent several intense days talking about publishing and writing and books. 

Often these events are filled with writers attending their first conference. Others attend each year to give a boost to their writing. These writers come with their writing and their dreams and plans to speak with editors and agents during the event. As an editor, I taught a few classes during the event but also met with numerous writers one-on-one listening to their pitches and helping from my years of experience.

I heard some remarkable stories and pitches. From others I heard about their heart-wrenching stories about their struggle to get published and find the right place for their work. Throughout the event I listened and spoke with them. Admittedly these events can be overwhelming when you return. The world of publishing contains many different opportunities and a wide variety of publications and publishers. When you are overwhelmed, one response is to spin and do nothing. My encouragement is for you to take action and here are four steps:

1. Take time for reflection. Which opportunities did you hear about which you want to do? Make a list of these publications or publishers, and then reconnect with the editor.

2. Review the editor's guidelines or theme list. Are you writing something that they want or are seeking? If so, read through your book proposal or query and send the editor what they requested. Throughout the event, I heard about some great book ideas—nonfiction, fiction, Christian, general market, and children's books. Some people handed me a paper copy. In each case, I asked them to email the material to begin the process. A few writers emailed the material during the event (very few). A number of them will go home, revise and improve their material, then send it to me. Others will never respond. 

3. Organize your business cards and contact information. Get it in a form you can access quickly. We work with people who we know, like and trust. A business card with an email and phone is a great first step, but add the information into your address book. You might not need it now but you may need it several months from now and want to be able to easily access it.

4. Apply what you have learned to your writing life. Throughout the conference, I taught three different workshops (social media, book proposals and Goodreads). It is wonderful to learn about these topics and listening to the information is the first step. Yet your actions after the conference are critical to your writing success. In each of these workshops, I gave specific action steps for the writers to do. The writers who take these actions steps will move forward with their writing and be closer to achieving their dreams and plans.

During the conference, I met several editors and learned about publications that I want to write for in the months ahead. I am taking my own action steps to move ahead for these dreams to become reality.

5. Bonus action. Reach out to some of the people you met at the conference and write them right away via email or even snail mail. It will do a great deal to foster and build your relationships. 
What steps to you take after attending a conference? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to learning your action steps.


When you return home from a conference, what actions do you take? Get four ideas here. (ClickToTweet)

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