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Conference Season Is Upon Us

by Deb Haggerty

‘Tis Spring and the conference season is upon us. The advent of this time of the year brings both anticipation and dread to both attendees and faculty alike. Having been an attendee and having served on various faculties, I thought I’d give you some tips from “both sides of the aisle.”


1. Be prepared. Know what the conference is offering. Educational sessions? Meet and greets with faculty, editors, and agents? Retreat time?

2. Bring paperwork. Business cards, one-sheets, proposals. A notebook. Have lots of business cards and one-sheets. You’ll only need a few proposals as most editors won’t want to lug them back home.

3. Be friendly. Know that everyone there is either outgoing (will probably give you a hug) or introverted (they’re so happy you took action first)–don’t be afraid to say hello to someone you don’t know–you may make their day AND make a new friend.

4. Be considerate. The person you want to talk with may be on the way to a meeting, a session, or the bathroom. Don’t take any abruptness as a brushoff. Try again–perhaps the lunch line or sitting at their table at a meal.

5. Buy books. The bookstore is a great place to find bargains and get autographed copies of your faves. You don’t mind the extra weight going home, do you?


1. Be prepared. Have your presentation materials locked down. Make sure any equipment you have is in good working order. Know your place on the program and the locations you’re supposed to be. Get there early.

2. Bring paperwork. Business cards, style sheets, proposal guidelines. A notebook. Have lots of business cards. Have ample copies of your style sheets and proposal guidelines. Attendees will want these.

3. Be friendly. You’re there to meet and greet and talk to the attendees. Yes, I know you may be shy, but step out of your comfort zone. Even a smile may make the day for someone. If you can’t talk right then, make an appointment to meet for coffee or just to chat. Let them know you’re here for them.

4. Be considerate. Many attendees have one of two reactions to meeting you—they may be awestruck or terrified they’ll look/sound stupid. They have no clue you feel the same way when you run into one of your heroes. Try to smile and give them a few seconds–even if you’re in a terrible, “I’ve got to get there NOW!” rush.

5. Buy books. The bookstore is a great place to find bargains and get autographed copies of your faves. You don’t mind the extra weight going home, do you?

Remember–we’re all there to learn, to meet people, and to have a good time. Relax, enjoy the setting, take some time for yourself. Look for God appointments and listen. When the conference is over, take time to reflect, pick some keepers from your notes, write thank-you notes, and prepare for the next conference you attend. May your writing be successful and count it all joy!

Deb Haggerty owns Elk Lake Publishing, Inc., an independent, royalty-paying house that “Publishes the Positive.” ELPI contracts new and experienced writers and publishes all genres of Christian fiction and nonfiction. Deb and her husband, Roy, have been married for thirty-three years and live in Plymouth, MA, with Coki the Dog.

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2 Responses to Conference Season Is Upon Us

  1. Mary Van Everbroeck (M.Broeck) says:

    Hi Deb: A great preparatory Post for the upcoming conference. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! Take care. Mary

  2. SydSavvy says:

    Just curious. What is a one-sheet?