27 September 2010
Are You Having a Good Conference?
"Are you having a good conference?"
That's something people ask each other in passing as they're heading toward their next workshop or meeting with an agent, editor, or publisher at a writers' conference. A few of us Gals were at one this weekend, giving presentations, attending other people's 'shops, and selling books.
Thing is, having a good conference isn't all down to who the speakers are or whether an editor asks to see your ms. or you land a contract. The workshops and agent-editor-publisher interactions are a big part of it, sure, but there's more, and the more is up to you.
Writers' conferences are opportunities to overcome your fears -- of meeting people, of introducing yourself as a writer, of talking about your work, of feeling all eyes upon you when you ask a question. Conferences are a chance to become your Writer Self. And no matter what else happens, spending a few hours or a few days in your Writer persona is energizing and inspirational.
Here's a tip about that: have one or two special accessories or pieces of clothing that you always wear to writing events. Over time, it will help people recognize you -- and it will cue your Inner Writer that it's time to come out and shine. (I have my Gecko Gal pin, and, new this year, my lucky socks.)
By the way, conferences are not over till you get home and follow up by phone or e-mail with all the contacts you made. (Did you know that only 10% of conference attendees actually send the manuscripts that agents or editors or publishers invite them to send? What's up with that?)
So -- yes, thanks, I got home last night and I am still having a good conference. I sold a few books. I learned some important stuff in workshops. I survived yet another misinformed pilgrim backing away and wailing that Wicca is "too scary." I renewed some old connections and made some new ones.
I'm almost done writing all the e-mails and attaching all the mss. I said I would. When that's done, then this conference will be over -- and then I'll start looking forward to the next one. I hope you find one to look forward to, too.