May 05

Tips for a Productive Writer's Conference

I listened at at the St. Louis Writers Guild networking workshop on Saturday and am passing on what I heard. Simple stuff! Yet it never crossed my mind!

1. Tough to part with the money for the conference or workshop? Consider it an investment in yourself.
2. Put your genre and the town and state you're from on your nametag. This increases the chances that you and others there will have something in common.
3. Carry extra pens and notepads (cheap ones) so that when someone says, "Wish I had a pen," or "Wish I'd brought some note paper," you can be their hero.
4. Stay at the hotel where the conference is held, not across town.
5. Go to as many sessions as there are. Even if there isn't a romance-writing session at 2:00 p.m., attend the poetry session. You might learn something. And go to the banquet thing even if it costs money and you don't really want to.
5. Pick up all handouts from all sessions. Put post-its on those you want to read carefully later, at home.
6. Don't feel bad about taking freebies such as bookmarks, tote bags, etc.
7. If you see someone who seems all alone, invite them into your group or to your table.
8. If you're meeting with an editor or agent, do NOT sit down and start reading to them the first chapter of your novel.
9. A conference is not a vacation. To get its benefits, work it.
10. Buy books from the authors there, and have them autographed. You might meet somebody.
11. Be liberal about giving out your business cards (the ones that say you're a writer). You do have some, don't you?

I didn't! And suddenly bizcards made sense! They'd make me more confident! So I checked out the free ones offered by and finally designed and ordered some quite cheaply from Can't wait to get them and show you.