I leave in four days for the National Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta. This year I’ll be traveling from our new home in Saudi Arabia for the first time. Conferences are exciting, exhausting and they can be a little overwhelming. However, you can make things a little easier by doing your homework. This can also help maximize your conference experience.
So what do I mean by “homework” and as I type surrounded by mounds of clothes it’s easy to refer to the dreading packing but no, I mean actual homework. Your conference work starts before arrival as you look over your itinerary and conference schedule. You have the names of the workshop leaders. Learn about who they are, what do they write, etc. Knowing this can also help determine if what they are speaking on is the workshop for you.
If you have agent interviews it is important to read up on that agent or editor. Do they have a blog? Have they written lately about what they are looking for? Have they published books? Learn as much as you can prior to the meeting.
A great resource prior to a conference is the “Writer’s Conference Guide: Getting the Most of Your Time and Money” by Bob Mayer and Jen Talty. This book is fantastic especially if this is your first major conference experience.
If this isn’t your first time at this particular conference, look back over your notes and business contacts from the previous year. Follow up with contacts. Schedule coffees or happy hour. Make the effort in advance to be social.
If that isn’t enough to think about, don’t forget to pack while doing your “homework.” Conferences are tiring and hard work but if you play it right they can be very beneficial.
Are you going to RWA Nationals in Atlanta? If so, I’d love to meet up!