My first big writer’s conference was the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Minneapolis. Talk about terrified. There were so many people. So much I didn’t know.
Now, I have been to several writer’s conferences and looking back there are a few things I know now that I wish I would have known back then.
5 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Writer’s Conference:
1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself the first time. A lot of writers think they will come away with a contract offer, or at least an invitation to send their work.
Truth: Sometimes you do. Sometimes you don’t. It may be that your work isn’t ready. It might not be a good fit for editors/agents. Maybe you need to practice your pitching skills more.
2. Whatever happens, be happy with the part of the journey you are in. Don’t despise the different stages of the journey. All have their ups and downs. Take each moment to learn the lessons of your part of the journey.
3. Unless you plan to publish with a house that doesn’t require an agent, focus your pitching efforts on agents. This is more my personal opinion, but I wanted an agent. Still, I signed up to meet with editors as well. I think I could have spent my time more efficiently.
4. Appointments are cancelled and sometimes you can slot into that spot. If you didn’t get the appointments you were hoping to get, check in with the appointment desk to see if there were any cancellations. (This is specific to ACFW.)
5. Buy the Conference CDs to get the most out of the whole experience. Sometimes appointments are scheduled at a time when you would want to be in a class. Instructors are used to this, but if you purchase the CDs you won’t feel that you are missing anything. (Also, nerves and exhaustion often get in the way of concentration.)
If you are new to the conference scene, what questions do you have? If you are more experienced, what advice would you give?