By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine
Do you go to conferences? To be more specific, do you go to writer’s conferences? If you are an aspiring writer or a published author this is a place you need to be. Why? For one thing you will meet other writers just like you and you will find they want to know the same things you do. As you meet these writers you will find friendships that last long after the conference is over. In fact, most of those friendships are going to last a lifetime.
Through these friendships you will have people you can talk to about writing–discuss techniques and share thoughts and ideas. You will also have friends you can talk to when you have just received a rejection, they are going to know exactly how you feel. And they are going to be able to listen, understand and lift you up. They will know how to give you encouragement when you need it most.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of being on the faculty at Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference. We had 511 people I believe at the conference. We were all there to fellowship and learn. Writers of all levels attended, and the enthusiasm was pouring out into the air.
I would like to share nine suggestions that will help you get the most out of your conferences.
1. When the names of the faculties are put on the conference website, you will want to read the background of each one.
2. Determine which of the faculty members you want to get a one-on-one with and make a list.
3. Visit their websites, learn all you can about what they do and decide which ones will be able to answer questions you have about meeting your goals in writing and publishing.
4. Make a list of questions to ask each person you want to meet with. Using your time wisely and theirs is important for you.
5. If you are going to talk to an agent or publisher, it is especially important to know what genres they work with. If you write children’s books you don’t need to talk to a publisher who takes only mysteries.
6. Be sure you have cards with you to give out to each person you meet. Make sure you get a card from everyone you meet.
7. Enjoy the conference. Wonderful memories are made that stay with you.
8. When you return home, look at your list of the people you talked to. Which ones stand out being helpful? Take the time to send them an email, thanking them for their time and their help.
9. Follow-through with instructions you were given by the faculty you met with.
Being prepared with questions assures you that you will come away with what you needed to move you forward in your journey of writing and publishing.