Monday, February 26, 2018

Make the Most of Your Conference Experience Part Two

By Andrea Merrell

In my last post we talked about how to make the most of your conference experience. This week, let’s look at a few more benefits and opportunities.

As I said before, be sure to have plenty of business cards (**with a photo**), and exchange them whenever you can. There is no greater place to connect with like-minded folks than a writers’ conference. These are people who get you. Follow up with them after the conference and establish a relationship. God has a way of creating kingdom connections and lifelong friendships ... and you never know how they might come. Sometimes our greatest blessing may come from the last possible place (or person) we expected.

Learning the Craft
Conferences offer a wide variety of classes from social media to how to write a novel. You can learn everything from the basics of writing to marketing. Writing is a lifelong learning process, and this is the best way to sharpen your skills. Always be open and teachable. Take notes and brainstorm with other conferees. If the classes are recorded, purchase the MP3s or digital downloads. This way, you have the entire conference to listen to over and over.

Pitching Your Work
Whether you have a completed manuscript or simply an idea for a project, conferences give you the opportunity to meet with agents, editors, and publishers. Prepare your elevator pitch (your project in 30-60 seconds), and be ready to present it at your appointment, at a meal, or whenever the opportunity arises. (You might even get to share it in an actual elevator.) These industry professionals will give you valuable feedback. Listen to them carefully.

Contests and Critiques
Many conferences will allow you to send in your work ahead of time to be critiqued. This is another way to get feedback on your writing. Don’t hesitate to enter. It’s not important whether you win or lose; it will be good experience for you to submit your words.

Conferences are an important part of your writing career. Think of them as continuing education.Whatever you do, be ready. When you ask God to bless you and open doors of opportunity, He will.

From your experience, what advice can you add? We would love to hear your suggestions.


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