I knew that C.S. Lewis and I had more in common than our Christianity when he said, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me." Welcome to a celebration of faith, tea, and the written word. I'm always engaged in a book, and whether it's one I'm reading or one of the inspirational historical romances I write, there's always a cup of tea close by. Join me in a cup as we chat about faith, our favorite books and the exciting places our reading and writing adventures take us.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What to Bring to a Writing Conference

I've only been to a few writing conferences (one large, one small), so I am clearly no expert regarding what to pack and how to prepare. That's why I've read others' blogs on the subject, asked questions, and learned from my mistakes. I've gleaned a few good tips and come up with a few of my own. 
RWA12 with Debby Giutsi, Anne Barton, Sandra Leesmith, Anita Mae Draper, and me, in need of a haircut.

What to take in your tote bag/big purse?

You'll no doubt carry a bag around with you when you. When considering what to take, start Early.
  • Order business cards and any other printed promotional items early. Remember your business cards advertise your industry, which is YOU. Your card should include your name, tagline, and website information. Mine also includes a photo of me, my twitter handle, and my agent's contact info. If you do not have an agent, be sure to include your email address.
  • All of us need one-sheets. I use Vistaprint to print my one-sheets of my proposals for my editor pitches, but you can print something up on your computer easy-peasy.
  • I don't have a book to promote, but I'm trying to promote myself. To that end,I have a small giveaway to share with others in the Goody Room.
  • Something to keep business cards in--yours and the ones you receive. I put the ones I receive in a zipper pocket of my portfolio. Later, if a card is super important (ie has an editor's contact info on it), I take photos of it with my phone.
  • Prepare a one-sheet cheat-sheet for pitches, but memorize your elevator pitch. Also think about who your audience is, why you think you might be a good fit for a publishing company, and any other pertinent details about your story.
  •  Charge the battery in your camera. You'll want to take pictures of friends and your favorite authors!
  • Snacks. Otherwise you'll stand in a huge line at the hotel Starbucks.
  • Sanitizer, lotion, etc that is unscented--this is a rule at ACFW.
  • $1 bills to tip with. There are a lot of people to tip: maids, airport shuttle drivers, cabbies, etc.
  • Something to take notes with--your laptop or a notepad. If you forget a pen, don't worry. There will be one or two (thousand) in the goody room. ;)

What to wear? 

 Here's my thought:
  • Business casual clothes. To some, this means denim; to others, it means suit. You want to be comfortable and neat, and it's better to be overdressed than under-dressed. I take jeans for "off-campus" trips, but at the conference, I dress churchy. Sigh--no Uggs.
  • I turn into a Garanimal. I pick clothes in the same color family so if something happens to one pair of pants, the world doesn't end. Hopefully, I also pack less clothes this way.
  • Flat shoes. Heels are great for the gala, but unless you're the type of person who is fine wearing heels all day long, bring along some nice, comfy flats.
  • A blazer or sweater.
  • A shawl. I learned the hard way at RWA that the conference rooms can get cold. My sweaters weren't enough and I ended up buying a black shawl in the gift shop when I already had one at home. A shawl is nice because you can shove it into your bag, and if you need it, you can wrap it around you like a blanket.
  • Don't overpack. You will get books out the wazoo to take with you. I packed a bunch in my suitcase, but I still had to ship a box of books home. Remember the hotels charge a fee to do this. It's still worth it.
Also, remember your Bible, medications, cell phone charger, water bottle, makeup, and anything else you need to be cozy. Try to get some rest, too. At conference, there's always something going on. You have to say no to something. That's ok. Enjoy what you experience!

One more thing...I'll be asking my Inkwell Inspirations friends for their tips and sharing what I learned on Sept 2. Head over to the Inkwell on that date for more helpful secrets!


Karen Lange said...

These are great lists! I had to laugh though, I like how you turn into a Garanimal! I do the same thing whenever I go away; it just seems easier. Oh, and for the record, I think your hair looks nice. Wouldn't have thought you needed a haircut! :)

Susanne Dietze said...

Hi Karen! You and I can be Garanimals together. :) I will miss you at ACFW, but I am excited for all that's going on in your life with your new book! Congratulations!