by Mindy Obenhaus
You’ve registered for your favorite writer’s conference(s). Your hotel is booked. Your transportation is squared away. Now the real work begins.
Business Cards – Whether you’re a multi-published author or a beginning writer, you’re going to want business cards. Networking at conferences is invaluable. You’ll make new friends, meet those people whose names you’ve seen attached to countless emails, and even find yourself lunching in the company of editors and agents. Whatever the case, business cards are an easy way to exchange information and you’ll probably come home with a whole wad of them. Other people’s, that is, not your own
You can purchase business cards from a variety of places or make your own on your computer. If you’re technically challenged like moi, try free business cards from companies like vistaprint.com where all you pay for is shipping. If you’ll be meeting with editors/agents, consider putting your picture on your business card. They meet with boatloads of people at these conferences. Having your photo beside your name is a big help.
Your Pitch – Ugh! This is my least favorite part. I usually have no problem presenting myself, but when it comes to talking about my story I either stumble over my words or it comes out sounding canned. Trust me, it’s never too early to start working on your pitch. Then practice, practice, practice. Say it to anyone who will listen. Say it with enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is contagious, and you want the editor/agent to be as excited about your story as you are.
One Sheets/Sell Sheets - This kind of goes hand-in-hand with your pitch. A one-sheet promotes your story and you the writer. It gives a short, and I mean short, synopsis of your story (think back-cover blurb), perhaps info on other stories you’re working on (this should be kept to one or two lines), and info about yourself. What makes you qualified to write this particular story?
Prayer – This is the most important part of any conference for me. I start praying even before I register, asking the Lord to guide me as I choose classes and schedule appointments. Later, I pray for my attitude and that I will have the experience God wants me to have, instead of the one I want to have. You know, He really does know best.
Whew! I’ve got some work to do. We’ll pick up here next week. Until then, what’s your favorite part of any conference? Meeting new people? Pitching? Or just being in the company of other writers?