Do you have your first writer’s conference coming up soon? Get excited, you’re going to have an amazing and exhausting time. You’ll get a chance to meet agents, editors and other writing industry professionals. Make sure you come ready to network, guzzle some coffee and learn a lot. But make sure you don’t forget these essentials:
A Notebook & Pen
While at the conference, you’ll be attending panels and workshops, so make sure you have a way to take notes. You might be tempted to bring your laptop or tablet with you, but keep in mind you may not have access to wireless or outlets while you’re in your conference rooms. So, I recommend bringing a notebook and pen with you, as your main note-taking medium or just as a backup. I highly recommend these reusable notebooks that you can upload to your computer when you’re done!
Make sure you pack pretty of business cards for your conference. It’s a great way to make an impression on people when you meet them, so pick a design that stands out. Your business card needs to include your name, phone number, email address and website. Make sure your business card also makes it clear that you’re a writer (rather than a card you borrowed from your day job). Vistaprint has great templates to choose from at reasonable prices.
Hard Copies Of Your Work
Many agents and editors only accept digital submissions anymore, but that doesn’t mean there’s no value in bringing hard copies of your query letter or first chapter with you. Imagine if you’re talking to an agent and they ask to see some of your work. Instead of just handing them your first page, you have to fiddle with your phone or promise to email it to them later. You may have lost a connection, so just print out 10 copies of your query letter and first chapter to bring with you.
While you may want to wear your regular weekend clothes, keep in mind that you may be meeting agents, editors and others that you could develop a professional relationship with. Present yourself in a way that reflects the kind of writers you want to be seen as. Stitchfix can help find clothes that match your new style so you not only feel professional but also authentic.
An Open Mind
You might have definite expectations for your first conference. You might go in with a plan to nail down an agent or editor. You might try to find a few clients for your editing business. But remember to keep your mind open about the opportunities that presents themselves. You may not find an agent who loves your work, but they may be able to provide you helpful feedback that will improve your work. So just don’t close yourself off to something that may help you, even if it’s not exactly what you expected.