Sunday, July 03, 2016


Surrey International Writers' Conference

It doesn't matter if it's a big or small conference, or it's your first or tenth attendance! All delegates to a writers' conference need to arrive willing and able to get the last drop of value from the event. Here are some ideas on how to prepare yourself ahead of time and how to benefit once there:

Before you leave for the conference: 
  • Identify what you most need to learn
  • Choose the workshops and panels in the program that provide it
  • Pick the editors and/or agents you wish to meet and submit requests for appointments with your registration – early
  • Prepare a short list of questions to ask editors and agents, in case you are struck dumb
  • Develop a terrific one-sentence description of your book/work. (See Marketing Your Book Out Loud posted on January 7, 2015)
 Take with you:
  • Layered clothing – it can be hot in the breakout sessions
  • Samples of your best writing, properly formatted
  • Masses of paper and pens or take your laptop, although they are often a liability in crowded breakout sessions
  • Business cards (very important)
  • Money/credit cards with which to buy drinks, meals, books, etc

Once there:
  • Accept fatigue – you can sleep afterwards
  • Separate from your friends and move out of your comfort zone
  • Take full advantage of the social events and groups that form on the periphery
  • Talk to everyone you can, not just those you know – many are attending alone and feel awkward as well
  • Collect ­all the breakout session handouts if possible and try to get them for workshops you don't attend too. A buddy system works well to achieve this.
If you do these things you will be guaranteed to have a very valuable conference experience. And, you'll be panting to return.