Every writer should know that the relationships you develop are some of the most important tools for success as a writer. This reason alone explains exactly why you should be attending conferences. Social networking will only get you so far and it is much easier to work with faces you know, trust and remember. Attending conferences will boost your insight into the industry giving you an education your can;t buy or read about online. Plus the connections you will gain will provide mentors as well as connections with agents, editors and professional publishers.
Below are 5 ways you can benefit the most from attending conferences:
- Select a conference where you can meet with a specific editor or agent who is absolutely ideal for your work (after lengthy and intensive research). Get an appointment—but only if you feel like your work couldn’t be more ready to pitch. This is important.
- During any formal appointments, plan to talk about 10-20% of the time. Before meeting, develop a specific list of questions that, if you had the answers, you would know specifically what your next steps are (for your project or your career) when you leave. Read here for information on how to ask the right questions. Do not attend any appointment expecting to be offered a deal or representation. Go for the learning experience and the opportunity to have a professional consultation. That’s what it is.
- Closely study the backgrounds/bios of every speaker, agent, and editor who is attending. Be knowledgeable for any chance conversations you have; having this knowledge will also spark questions you could ask during panels or social hours. Don’t be the person who asks the obvious question you could’ve figured out by paying attention to the program. Delve deeper. Make your questions count.
- It’s been said before, but I’ll emphasize it. Don’t miss out on any aspect of a conference. Participate fully. Introverts are not off the hook. You never know who you might meet or what you might learn that could make a difference later.
- Read Chris Brogan’s “27 Things To Do Before a Conference.”
Now that you have a little more insight on how to benefit from attending conferences and why you should. Are you going to take action and actually start attending conferences this year?