I’ve just come back from the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Brisbane, wowser that was a jam-packed two days!
As a first time attendee and someone still new to the writing/publishing world, I highly recommend this to all in my shoes. This conference is superbly run and a wonderful way to connect with editors, agents, published authors, and authors-in-training.
Not to mention the other big plus of going to conferences – pitches. Pitches, pitches, pitches.
To say I was a nervous wreck was a complete understatement. I had never pitched directly before, and have only started querying agents so the fact I was going to do it face to face was intimidating.
Nevertheless, I buckled down hard and prepared all the while getting excited for the conference itself and all of it’s glorious publishing-fun. Ultimately, I had a fantastic time and learnt some invaluable information that you just don’t get reading articles online or watching videos. Those face to face interactions with real authors and publishers were worth every cent, and it all adds to the important network I’m trying to build at the infancy of my career. So, I highly recommend it but make sure you know what you’re going for too.
Here are my tips that will ensure you get the most out of your next (or first) conference:
- Practice your pitch until you can say it with confidence. I was at the point where I able to walk to the pitching room and sit there patiently, without the need to skim over my notes frantically. Tip – have your ELEVATOR PITCH . Or high concept, whatever you want to call it. Or else your pitch may likely get lost in translation. Know your story well enough that you could easily explain it. (Practice in front of your pets, your spouse, a mirror, or whoever will humor you and listen.)
- Prepare well ahead of time. Pack all the documents you need, print everything in advance, plan which outfits you will wear which days – I’m sure this won’t be the worst thing to do 😉
- Pace yourself – don’t feel like you have to attend every class you signed up for.
- Do network where you can – don’t pressure yourself to barge into every social gathering in your path, but if there’s a chance to have a quick gab at morning tea or when you’re going to get a coffee, do it. Everyone is super friendly and open once you make some chit-chat.
- Have fun! While it’s important to get the most out of conferences, do enjoy yourself. I found the conference a very relaxed, friendly and open place, and I’m sure other authors will say the same about their conference experiences.
Til next time!