Top Five Tips for Conference Survival
1. Be Professional: Kind seems like this shouldn't have to be said, but it doesn't hurt to remember you are at the conference to make contacts and conduct business. That means that even though everyone is hanging out in the bar at night, you shouldn't forget that a future contact might be there as well and see you.
2. Keep Calm. Its easy to think that if you blow one editor/agent pitch meeting that the world might end and you'll never sell, but that's not true. After my very editor pitch I was shaking so hard I could barely walk from the room but that didn't matter once I got home and submitted my manuscript.
3. Make new friends: This is hard for me since I'm inherently shy and have a hard time talking to people I don't know. I've come up with a few standard questions that help me to get the ball rolling.
a. What do you write?
b. How long have you been writing?
c. Tell me about the manuscript/book you are working on?
4. Don't Panic: This is my rule for two different types of workshops.
a. Craft workshops: More than once I'm sitting in a workshop and I hear the presenter say something about the craft of writing that isn't my process and I'll have that bit of doubt in the back of my mind, should I change my process so I'll be successful like this person? The answer is no. And if you are in a workshop like this that is making you panic/doubt your own process I recommend leaving. Everyone writes differently and your process works for you!
b. Industry Trends: Since I started writing (way back in '93) the BLANK market has been dying. I am serious when I say that at every conference I've been too someone has said what I'm writing is dying and that they won't be publishing it a year later. I just ignore this stuff for the most part because of something that very wise editor said to me one time (the late Kate Duffy) publishers are always going to be buying good fiction.
5. Enjoy Yourself: Its easy to get caught up in making as many contacts as you can and keeping your mind on business, but writing is a very solitary endeavor and you should use the conference as a chance to relax and enjoy talking about what you love to do with others who are like-minded.
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"Be my mistress for a month."
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To find out more visit Katharine's website http://www.katherinegarbera.