Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Conference Tips

by Annette Lyon

The entire Precision Editor Group staff will be at a writers conference this weekend as presenters. We love participating, both as speakers as well as attendees.

Conferences are a great place to do lots of things:

Learn the craft.
The first conference I attended was nearly 14 years ago. In that time, I've had the chance to listen to some amazing (and, okay, some less-than-stellar) speakers. I know a lot about writing, but I can always learn more. I attended a friend's class a few years ago simply to support her. While most of the workshop was a review for me, I still learned . . . and came away with some fantastic ideas for developing my characters further. There's always a nugget to be learned, regardless of how "good" you are.

Learn the industry.
I recall attending a conference where the visiting agent was getting questions that I thought were elementary. It wasn't until that moment that I realized that six years prior, I hadn't known the answers to those very questions. I'd come a long way!

Meet other Writers.
Some of the people who are now my best friends are those I met through conferences and other writing networks. Writing is a rather solitary profession; it's just you and your keyboard. I'm still amazed at the positive impact that a strong support network of friends who GET what being a writer means (and have been there, done that) can be.

Meet Industry Insiders.
As unfair as it sounds, the reality is that very often it's not necessarily the best manuscript that gets published. Often it's who knows who and what manuscript lands on the right person's desk on the right day. The more writers, editors, agents, and other professionals you know, the greater the chance of reaching the right person when your time comes.

As we've mentioned before, these kinds of meetings can sometimes happen in pitch sessions and manuscript review appointments. Prepare for them, but be professional. Don't stalk the agent and start with your elevator pitch WHILE IN THE ELEVATOR.

Recharge Your Batteries
Even if you think that you won't learn much from a particular conference, chances are that if you go, you'll leave pumped to write and improve. I know that every spring after this conference, I come home jazzed to get back to the keyboard and do what I love most: WRITE.

I can hardly wait for this weekend to arrive, when I get to see the friends who understand me best, be immersed in the writing world, and come home totally on fire.


Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I am so excited!!!

folksinmt said...

I'm sad I won't be there. Please share your notes with us next week!

Carolyn V. said...

Great advice! I agree with all that you listed. I can't wait for this weekend. It will be a great conference. =)

Rebecca said...

I am so looking forward to this conference! I'm also looking forward to meeting you!

Taffy said...

Thanks for the moral boost! See you this weekend.

Christy said...

Great ideas! Perhaps I will get a chance to meet you there.

L.T. Elliot said...

It was so great to see you, Annette! Your class was wonderful and I'm always impressed at how well read and informed you are. I always learn something from you! (Even better, I just like seeing you!)