As an unpublished writer I am very familiar with pocket lint. You know, the stuff that you feel around the hole in the bottom of your pocket for all of the workshops and expenses of learning the craft. Not to mention, vacation time, marketing supplies, printer paper…
Yep, we’re a broke lot. Broke and happy to sacrifice that extra meal out for a craft book or writing opportunity. Writing involves a definite dash of crazy, but I’m not complaining. I love being a writer.
Until the moment when we all hit the best seller list, we must prioritize our expenses for a conference. For the convenience of those attending the American Christian Fiction Writers In Dallas, I will use dollar amounts that are reflective of that conference. The formula can be used for other conferences.
*Business Cards- Vista Print is having a sale on 250 business cards for $10. (250 is more than enough for a conference)
*In Color 5 One-sheets – Notice I said only 5? Bring your flashdrive. There will be a business center where you are going in case of an emergency, but you don’t tend to give out more than 5 at a conference. If you need more, you can always print them there. Also it won’t sink the bank if you get to conference and notice a typo. You can reprint without already having spent a lot of money.
*Two Copies Of Your Proposal with 3 sample chapters- Only two, because even though you have an editor/agent appointment, most of them do not take a proposal with them. Once again, you can print more in the hotel business center if necessary.
*Business Casual Clothing. This is a moment to step out of your dated clothing into something that shows you take your writing career seriously. You don’t have to break the bank to pull of a business casual look. If you are budget crunched, look for mix and match opportunities with classic colors. Plan to wear your best of choices on your appointment day. Friday and Saturday are the most important wardrobe days because they are the longest and involve the most interaction with editors/agents/industry experts.
*Banquet Dressy Outfit. You might be able to get by here with an outfit you wore in someone’s wedding or hit a consignment shop for prom or wedding type apparel. Some people go formal, some go just high end church dressy. It is up to you, just don’t stand out like a sore thumb in your jeans.
These preparation expenses are really necessary to have a successful conference. If you are on a super tight budget, you cut some corners to make your wardrobe less expensive without looking like you just stepped out of the gym. Here is a general estimate of these expenses:
Business Cards $10
Business Printing $20 (One- Sheets and Proposals. May be less.)
Business Casual Clothing $30-200
Banquet Dressy Outfit $20 and up
The most important thing in all of these required budget expenditures is to set a realistic budget and stick to it. Do your best to look professional.
Tomorrow we will look at the expenses during the conference. Wednesday we will talk about extra things you may want to prepare for a conference after having budgeted for what is required. Then you can determine if they fit inside your budget.
We want to be a resource for each other. Where have you found ways to save money on conference prep and what links might be helpful?