Ten Tips for Early Conference Preparation

conference word cloudOne area I feel writer’s fall short is preparing ahead for conferences.  I mean way ahead. We’re too busy writing and marketing. So, we wait until the last minute to get our act together leaving us anxious and worn out before the opening day. This is January, let’s see if we can’t change that. It’s possible I’ll be attending three this year when one is my average. So, I’m preaching to the choir here.

I’ve put together my ten-point checklist. If you can sprinkle the months leading up to your conference with time to get these things done. It leaves the weeks before for fun stuff, like shopping for a new outfit. Your conference experience will be so much more enjoyable.

ancient antique antique map atlas

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

  1. Choose the conference you plan to attend.

You’ll base it on affordability and distance from home.  Perhaps there’s a dream conference you’ve had your eye on, and this is the year.

  1. Fund it ahead.

Set money aside each payday or paycheck from a writing assignments or royalties. Don’t be shy about applying for scholarships. Some conferences offer work scholarships.

Watch for flight deals. Sometimes the earlier you book the sweeter the deal. The same goes for hotels.

person holding coin

Photo by maitree rimthong on Pexels.com

  1. Prepare your Manuscript.

Start now to clean it up and tweak it. Ask for others to go over it. Trade critiques with another writer. Run it through Grammarly or ProWritingAid or both.  Make sure it’s the best it can be.

  1.  New headshot

No one should use an old photo. We age, our hairstyle changes and we don’t want an editor to not remember us because the business card photo does not look like the person they met. Photographers often have a reasonable price for headshots. Having a copy on your computer allows you to put it on business cards, bookmarks and sell sheets. Paying for a bit of touchup is a good idea.

  1. Get your swag on

Buy new business cards if needed to reflect changes in your writing status. Some authors add the book titles to the back of their card or use a folded card for any additional information. Create new bookmarks, notecards and sell sheets early. It gives you time to have a reprint if you find an error. It also spreads the cost over months instead of weeks.

I carry my clips and samples in a three ring binder with plastic sleeves.

  1. Gather clippings throughout the year.

As you receive bylines put them in a clip file. Put your favorites together in a folder to show an editor. No one wants to see them all. Make sure whichever clips they choose to read are your best work.

  1. 7. Put out the word if you have a need

Well in advance of the event request roommates or a need to carpool. It gives you a better chance of finding the right match.

  1. Set aside spending cash

Decide what your spending cash goal is and try to save that ahead of time. Throw change in a jar. Cut your grocery spending by $10 and put that in an envelope for the conference. Use cash only or a prepaid debit card for on-site conference purchases. This keeps you from overspending.

  1. Bath the event in prayer.

Pray for the conference and seek God’s direction months before the registration day arrives. God’s peace will rest on you before, during, and after the event.

  1. Request the days off now

Ask for the time off now. Add a day before to get things in order, and a day after to rest, and recover. Waiting until the last minute usually ends in fewer days off or too much going on at work to use your PTO. Request the time now before anyone else takes those dates.

This is my checklist. What other things would you add?

I know you’ve thought of something I’ve missed.