Monday, July 14, 2008

Be Prepared

This one is going out to all of the writers heading off to those National conferences. Two words... BE PREPARED!

This is a simple thing to do and yet you would be surprised how many writers I meet that are far from ready when they get on the airplane to go. Since these are major conferences and you will be frequently in situations where your career is immediately on the line, you need to be ready for everything.

So, with that said, here are some things to consider:

1) Know the people that are your "targets" - the people you want to meet up with. When I say know them, know who they are, what they look like and all that you can about them.

2) Know how to pitch your story without simply regurgitating your memorized elevator pitch. Many sales have been made simply sitting next to someone at a lunch table.

3) Know all of your stories. Make sure that you are ready to pitch anything.

4) Know where you want to go and what you want to see. I have everything planned out on my OUTLOOK calendar. This includes all of my Spotlights and appointments. If you don't have a plan, you will spend more time wandering and not using your time productively.

5)Plan on working. This is not a play conference, but a work conference. Susan Swinwood from Harlequin and I always joke about this but it is true. From the moment you walk out of your door until the end of the day "you are on."

6) Be professional. Again, this goes back to who you may meet. You only get one chance to make a first impression and too often, although I may have told someone to send me something after meeting them in the hallway, I have already gotten thoughts of rejection in my head.

7. Always have business cards, paper, writing instruments, bookmarks, and any other marketing tools with you. Several favorite writers of mine are always ready to make a sale (although they really don't need to) because of this.

Look, if you want to be a professional writer you have to go and act like one. If you don't believe me, just people watch. I can promise you that you will see careers lost at this conference (hint, the bar is a good place to see this really happen).

See you there!


1 comment:

  1. I totally agree about the bar. Even if you do go, it's best to stay away from alcohol. And confidences to people whose name tags you can't see.