Ten Point Checklist for Conference Attendees

conference word cloudThis week I’ll be attending Write to Publish, the writer’s conference I’ve attended every June for over a decade. Today I’ve decided to post a conference checklist. Thought you’d find it helpful.

  • Business Cards

Take 50. You may not use them all but you won’t run out. Give them to the people you have appointments with and exchange them with those you network with at the conference.check list-tiny

 

  • One sheets (sell sheets) of the novels or books you are pitching. One sheet per book. You can also create a sell sheet of article ideas you have. Present these at your appointments with an editor.

 

  • Clips- photo copies of your published work. This gives editors a taste of your writing experience. Or have copies of your completed short stories, articles and devotionals to share during your appointment if requested. Samples of your best work can lead to a request for your stuff.

    clip and samples-2

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

 

 

  • Fresh notebook or laptop. Whether you prefer to take notes with pen and paper or on your PC be sure you have enough paper, extra pens and the power cord for your laptop. If you have a larger laptop like me, you might prefer to leave it at home or in your room. It gets heavy and cumbersome to tote. I can check emails etc. on my phone so I opt for pen and paper.

 

 

  • Pitch cheat sheet. I hate memorizing a pitch. I get frustrated and nervous. A cheat sheet helps me remember my pitch just before my appointment. I may not say it word for word but at least it’s fresh in my mind.

 

  • Pictures and names of agents, publishers and editors I want to meet. I may not get an appointment with them but mealtime is a great time to pitch your stuff. If I have a picture I might recognize them in the cafeteria or in the hall.

 

  • Proposals and manuscripts are optional. Most editors and agents want an email version. Having a copy or three is good if you plan on getting input from freelancers or participating in critique sessions. Have copies of the first chapter of your book. If an agent or editor marks it up or takes a copy, you have more clean copies.

 

  • Clothes for conference. Being sure you have all your outfits and all their components is important. I once forgot to change out of my sports bra. A pink sports bra under dress clothes was …I made an emergency run to a nearby Walmart to buy a new bra. Another year I bought a sweatshirt because the temp dropped. Be prepare for any contingency. Wear comfortable shoes if the conference you’re attending is on a large campus. Blisters and limping are just oh so fun when you’re trying to get all you can from a conference. Lots of people wear tennis shoes at these events. So, leave your classy uncomfortable footwear at home. If your conference has a formal dinner then pack dress shoes for that event only.

    black open toe

    Leave your uncomfortable shoes at home.

 

  • Double check your spending budget. There will be lots of books and CDs available for purchase. Decide what you absolutely must have. If it exceeds your budget copy down the title and purchases them later.

 

  • Be sure to have registration confirmation, hotel confirmation and if you’re flying tickets, boarding passes and proper ID.

 

  • Books for sale. This is my first year to bring my novel for the sales table. Only bring a reasonable amount. If you’re flying you’ll be limited unless you shipped them ahead. Even though the conference has hundreds of attendees they are not going to all buy your book. You will be in competition with lots of other authors along with myriads of craft books. Better to run out than haul boxes back home. Have lots of bookmarks or postcards available so interested readers can take them home and order your book later.secret-charades-front-cover

 

What items would you add to this list?

 

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Conference Tip # 3 Preparing Clips and Samples

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

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

Clips and samples show the writing world what you can do. Appointments with publishers go smoother when you can show rather than tell what you write. Let me define the two.

Clips

These are articles, poems, stories, devotionals, editorials, whatever you’ve had published. The term clips refers to articles cut out of magazines and periodicals. Some of your clips might be copies of magazine pages or print offs of website articles. Your most recent publications are best. No need to show twenty year old newspaper clippings. (I really have some of those.) Be sure the date and magazine title are somewhere on the copy. If you have a link to your work, I suggest you share a hardcopy. Wifi access may not be available where you meet with publishers and you waste precious minutes of your fifteen minutes looking for specific clips on your site. If they are interested in your link, you can write the web address on the back of your business card.

Samples

Samples are unpublished work to show your writing skills. Editors want to see if your style is right for their publication. Some editors want unedited versions. (Not rough drafts, rather items not professionally edited.) They want to see how polished your best work is. Bring only your best samples. You might want to go back over selections and tweak as needed to make them your best. Be sure you do your research about the publishing house or magazine in advance. (I’ll be discussing that in another post.) Only show samples of things fitting the particualr publishers needs.

Presentation is everything

I carry my clips and samples in a three ring binder. Each article is in its own sleeve. I usually have multiple copies of samples. Some editors like to mark up my work. That way I always have a clean sheet to show at the next appointment. The sleeves keep the pages neat. Some people like to bring their laptop to show their work. I find that too cumbersome, and it can give the impression of being unprepared. You grabbed your computer at the last minute because you didn’t have time to print anything off. If disaster happens and your printer dies, it’s worth the cost to go to Office Depot to make copies or buy ink for a friend’s printer, but don’t go without samples or clips. Some like to paperclip their sheets together and keep them in a file folder. Whatever works to keep your papers organized.

What’s in your toolbox so far

Let’s see, so far you’ve made a business card, a one-sheet and gathered samples and clips. You’re well on your way to filling your conference tool box for success. In my next post we’ll define synopsis and proposals. So of you haven’t subscribed to my blog you might want to do that by using the options to the right. I plan on covering the how-tos for a successful conference experience before May is over, and I am on my way to the Write-To-Publish conference in June.

How do you organize your clips and samples?

 

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