Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Writers' Conference Tips By Cecelia Dowdy

Writers' Conference Tips by ~Cecelia Dowdy~
Have you ever attended a writers' conference? If so, do you have any useful tips to share?

I realize a lot of writers have never attended a writers' conference. Currently, I notice a lot of buzz going on various authors' and writers' loops about the upcoming annual Romance Writers of America conference. I used to attend this conference every year, but, since I've joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) I don't attend the RWA conference often. I doubt I'll be attending the ACFW conference this year, either. Another conference that I've attended is the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. Since all three conferences are coming up, I thought I'd post a few conference tips that I've learned over the years.

When attending a conference, be sure to meet as many people as possible! Exchange business cards, and if your manuscript is complete, be sure to make appointments with editors and agents to pitch your work. Making these kinds of contacts is very important within this industry. You can also network outside of conference hours. Meet other conferees for lunch, dinner, or late-night get togethers! Just chatting with other authors and writers makes your career feel less lonely.

When you meet with an editor or agent, be prepared. Perhaps have a business card handy to give to the editor or agent. You may want to write the name of your book on your card. Just be sure to relax and not be nervous while pitching your book. You may even want to practice your pitch several times before your meeting. Some people usually start practicing weeks before they meet with the editor or agent.

Attend workshops and learn as much as you can from the speakers! Most conferences have the workshops recorded on CD. I've found that the conference CDs are helpful, especially since it's nearly impossible to attend all of the courses that are provided during the conference.

So, have any of you ever attended a writers' conference? If so, do you have any useful tips to share?

~Cecelia Dowdy~


Molly Noble Bull said...

I attended a conference in Houston when the Christian branch of American Christian Writers, ACW, was a chapter of that organization. Then the Christian branch of ACW broke off and became ACRW -- American Christian Romance Writers. I attended an ACRW conference when we all voted to change the R (Romance) to F (ficton), and we become ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers.
Here are my tips.
. . . Be friendly and warm with everyone.
. . . Wear comfortable shoes.
. . . Take an afternoon nap if you are tired even if it means missing one of the sessions. The sessions and meetings go into the night. Resting when you need to rest will help you get through it all.

Cecelia said...

Yes, if you need to rest during the conference, then do so! You can always purchase the CD if you miss a workshop1 Great advice, Molly! Thanks for commenting!
~Cecelia Dowdy~

Teresa Slack said...

I couldn't post earlier. Hopefully it will go thru this time. Your post is timely, Cecelia. I plan to attend ACFW again this year. I went for the first time last year and don't think I got much out of it. I was tired and cranky the whole time. Overwhelmed and unsure of which end was up. I won't overextend myself again. I like Molly's suggestion of afternoon naps. Highly recommended. The easiest, most enjoyable time for me was meeting with editors. They're ppl too, looking for a great book proposal. Relax, smile, and remember they want us to succeed as much as we do.

Hope to see you in St. Louie.

Connie Walsh Brown said...

I've enjoyed attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference and conferences in other states.

To add to your tips, I'd encourage writers to study the list of faculty before coming to the conference. Find out about the publications represented. This will improve your interactions during appointments or impromptu meetings with writers or editors.

* Connie Brown

Cecelia Dowdy said...

Teresa and Connie, thanks for the tips. Teresa, although I hope to see you in St. Louie, as if right now, it looks doubtful! :-(

Tamela Hancock Murray said...

Very good tips, everyone. What a great topic to open up discussion about a topic that's vital to a writer's career, Cecelia! I hope writers will read and listen to what you have to say.

Tamela Hancock Murray said...

Sorry -- that should have read, "What a great article..."

More coffee needed for me this morning!