Sunday, June 12, 2022

How to Prepare for a Conference

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Some of my most significant relationships in the publishing world started at a writer's conference. These events can be a huge boost to your writing life. As a writer, you can pitch your book ideas to editors and literary agents during these conferences. Also you can gain insights from their workshops, sit with them at meals and learn from them. Each event is different but many of them have keynote speakers who give inspirational messages. Often they have panels where the audience can ask questions and you can gain additional information. I've been attending and speaking at these types of events for years. With the pandemic many of these events turned virtual but as I've written about recently, live events have returned.
This coming week I travel to Chicago and the campus of Wheaton College for Write to Publish. I've met a number of writers at these events and Morgan James Publishing has published their books. It's also an opportunity for the various faculty members to reconnect and catch up with each other during the event. If you want the best results from attending such an event, then you need to prepare for them. In this article, I want to give you some ideas about what steps I take for preparation to help your writing life.
Several weeks ago, I noticed I was low on print copies of my latest book, Book Proposals That Sell. I ordered more some more copies which arrived before I'm leaving for the conference. The supply chain issues have affected the amount of time for books to print and reach you. I take books to sell at these events and it is an important part of the preparation process.
At every conference, it is important to have business cards to exchange with attendees and faculty. Earlier this spring, I created a new business card and got them printed. I will pack a qualtity of these cards and other print material to bring to the conference. Countless times during the years, I've met a new faculty member and exchanged cards. The other person will often dig through their wallet or purse and tell me they have forgotten business cards and give me one of the few they happened to have. No matter what your role at the conference, I encourage you to bring plenty of cards to exchange.
At Write to Publish, I'm teaching three workshops. While I've taught these workshops in other places, each time I review my handout to make sure all of the websites and extra material are up to date and working properly. I'm teaching on five ways to build a platform, social media and also understanding an negotiating contracts. These workshops are recorded and I always attempt to build great value into my handouts through links to extra material.
The conference has arranged pick me up at the airport and transportation to Wheaton College. I've been given the name of my driver and their cell number (which I put into my phone). It's all a part of the preparation for the conference. You may have to make travel arrangements or other important aspects to make sure you arrive and leave at the right time.
Another key in your conference preparation is to review the various faculty and their workshops. There are a number of other possibilities for attendees during each of my workshops. If you have reviewed these options ahead of time and made your selection, then you will be prepared for the conference. Also this review helps you know what the different editors and agents are looking for and who to pitch and what to pitch them during the event.
I'm looking forward to this event and the unplanned yet special conversations which happen during each of these conferences. I hope this article has given you some ideas and action steps to take as you prepare to attend a conference. What additional steps do you take or what feedback can you give me about this article? What steps are you taking? Let me know in the comments below.

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2 Comment:

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Karen Lange Left a note...

Conferences can yield such great benefits. I've made friends, connections, and obtained good info by attending various ones. Perhaps one day I'll get to hear you speak in person at one. Thanks for the tips and info.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Thank you for the comment and feedback. Yes I hope our paths cross at a conference one of these days. I need to do more pitching to line up some more events in the days ahead--a continual part of the process. I would love to meet you in person one of these days.



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