This weekend I attended the DFW Writers’ Conference. It was my second year, and this time I got some things right (that I learned last year) and some things wrong (that I experimented with this year). So I thought I’d share with you all some of my newfound tips, so that you can be more prepared at the next con you attend. And I totally recommend DFWcon, by the way. Great stuff.
Without further ado, the top 10 things I learned:
1. Set your goals ahead of time. Choose 1-2 big ones and prioritize.
2. The first thing you should do is pick up your nametag, write your Twitter handle under your name, and put it on. I wish I could claim this idea as my own, but I totally snagged it from networking queen Kelsey Macke.
3. Be on Twitter. This is one I didn’t do, and I regret not doing it. I don’t have a smart phone (which, quite honestly, I greatly value for the rest of the year), so I definitely felt like I was missing out on all the #DFWcon hashtag conversations. Maybe next year I’ll borrow one or something.
4. Make yourself recognizable in person and online. This includes 1) Don’t forget your nametag when you change outfits that night or the next day. 2) Follow tip #2 above. 3) Make your actual name your Twitter handle. And 4) Make your Twitter picture look like you ahead of time, so we can make the name/face/Twitter connection.
5. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Sometimes they work; sometimes they don’t. You won’t know until you try.
6. Go with positive people who share similar goals. Like my all-time favorite wingwoman Febe Moss.
7. Find new friends (like the awesome Christine Arnold), and meet up with them more than once to reinforce the connection.
8. Follow up online with connections you made. Find them on Twitter, say hi, and give them a follow.
9. Now, some people will disagree with this. But I say don’t make it your goal to pitch to agents in social situations. Be ready, but don’t pitch unless they invite you to. Accepting that some interactions will just be for fun takes a lot of the pressure off and made my time a lot more enjoyable. Plus, just because you don’t pitch at the con doesn’t mean you can’t query them later and remind them how you met.
10. Leave classes that don’t do it for you. You’ve paid too much money to waste an hour in a class that isn’t what you need.
Those are the things I learned this year! Have you been to a writers’ conference before? Do you have any other tips to add?