What to take in your tote bag/big purse?You'll no doubt carry a bag around with 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.
- Do you have a book to promote? You can leave small giveaways to share with others in the Goody Room or, at ACFW, on the Goody Table--and in your bag.
- Bring 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. Even when meals are included, they may not be to your taste/dietary restrictions. It's always safest to have a protein bar at the ready.
- 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, clean and neat. I take jeans for "off-campus" trips, but at the conference, I tend to wear pants, blouse, blazer or sweater, and flats. 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 (as I mentioned earlier). 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 shawl. I learned the hard way at RWA that the conference rooms can be cold. My 3/4 sleeve sweaters weren't warm 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. (You can also use it as a pillow or blanket on the plane.)
- Don't overpack. You will get free books. At RWA, 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.
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!