Writing Conference Preparation

I didn't get my teeth as white as I wanted, but I've been working on other things.

Here's what every writer needs to have in their arsenal when heading to a conference (if they've completed a manscript):

Fiction Proposal: Harder sounding than it actually is. The toughest part for me is the comparable books section

One-Sheet: Kind of fun to make, actually. Here's some examples.

Pitch: Blech. You know how I feel about this.

Flash Drive: Just in case anything weird happens, like my beautiful papers get soaked, or an editor wants to read the full, ASAP. (lol)

Folder: Buying one at Wal-Mart on Sunday, to hold all my stuff in.

Business Cards: Not sure who will keep them but from what I gather, they're a good idea.

Maybe you've gone to a conference, maybe you haven't, but have you needed any of the above? Created any? What's the hardest part for you?

On Monday the fourteenth, I have a guest posting about a new, very cool writing opportunity!


Been to two writing conferences. Was terrified and excited at the first! Reminded me of my first day at school! I spent most of my time wandering around, meeting people and learning lots.

The second time I was prepared. I had all the right "stuff" like you have. Even though I wasn't ready to pitch a book, I practiced on the book I was writing.

And the highlight was that I won an award for a short story, got to make an acceptance speech in front of a couple hundred people and got a trophy and pictures of me accepting it!!!

You'll do great! Relax, enjoy and learn! Can't wait to hear all about it!
Wow Donna! You've won a few awards for short stories, haven't you? You must be a talented writer. :-)

First day of school...that sounds about right! LOL
Kristen Painter said…
I'm usually more concerned with what outfits I'm bringing. Also, I make sure to pack my badge holder that has all my various pins on it (chapter pins, award pins, my agency pin, etc.)

Business cards are good, as are 3x5 cards for making pitch notes on - at least that's what I used to use.
Hi Kristen
Yeah, I think the cards will come in handy this time around. The first time I went I had no clue what to do with them. I didn't realize there were a lot of pins for things! Congrats to you on the awards. :-)
I'm def. looking forward to wearing my new clothes!
Jaime Wright said…
Thanks for the checklist!!! This is my last real day to prepare everything!! Ack!!! See you next week :)
Jody Hedlund said…
Looks like a great list! That's funny about the teeth-whitening. I'm a huge coffee and tea drinker, so we can have semi-white teeth together! :)
Oooo, I would have never thought to bring a flash drive! Are you wearing some smarty pants today? ;)
LOL Sherrinda, no, I wish I was. Got any extras laying around?

Hey Jody,
Yay! I love coke, so my teeth aren't as white as they could be either. :-)
AngeliStarr said…
Ive never been to a conference maybe in a few years when I will actually have time to do these things. (I work and go to college. Kind of hard to take time out from both to try and follow a dream)

I wish you good luck! It sounds like fun, lots of work but tons of fun. You've definitely laid out everything I'd have in mind to have with me.
Keli Gwyn said…
Jessica, it sounds like you're ready to go. I hope you have a great time and make lots of wonderful connections.

I'd never heard of needing a proposal at a conference. At Mount Hermon the one-sheet was the document we were told to prepare, and even then they mentioned that most agents and editors would look at them but not keep them. Does ACFW recommend having a proposal with you?

Thanks for the link to the one-sheet examples. Mighty professional. It was fun to see Eileen Astels' lovely one-sheet spotlighted.
Stephanie Faris said…
Did you get some of the free business cards you can order online?
Tana said…
You sound well prepared. I'm excited for you!
Kara said…
Sounds like you will do great!
I dread the pitch, that would be the hardest for me.
hopefully i won't need anything apart from the list you have. i've got it all ready right now, folder and all. just printed off the proposal from office depot today! yay!

The Character Therapist
Nancy J. Parra said…
Hi- this is a great list. I've been to many, many conferences. Bis cards are super, pitch is important- you never know who you'll sit next to and when they'll say- so what is your book about? lol. Most important is to simply take a deep breath, relax and have fun! cheers~
anita said…
OOh! Your guest poster sounds exciting and mysterious! Heehee.

Yep, I've been to two conferences, but they were both in town and I volunteered, so I feel like I missed out on some stuff being so busy.

Great list above. Of all of them, I've only done two: business cards and the dreaded disgusting pitch. Such an informative post, Jessie! And great examples. Thank you!
anita said…
Oh, and sympathy snort about your teeth. ;-P At least you can bleach yours. My bonding prevents me that luxury. Heh.

New clothes go a super long way toward making you feel good about yourself, and you accomplished that. So WOOT! :-)
Dara said…
Um, I really can't think of any books comparable to my current one. I hardly see any fiction set in Asia, let alone 18th century Japan...

I know there's a famous historical fantasy series set in Japan around that time but it's more of an action/adventure type book--not anything like my current book.

Hmm...perhaps that'll change by the time I (hopefully) go to ACFW next year. :P

I've created business cards for a small conference I attended a few years ago. They were pretty generic but they worked.
Jessie Oliveros said…
I went to my SCBWI conference today. All I brought was a folder because my ms isn't done :) Anyway, it was great, worth what I paid for it.
Katie Ganshert said…
I'm going to Staples tomorrow to print everything out!! Can't wait to meet you Jessica. Speaking of that...how are we going to make sure all of us blogging buddies get to meet? What if I never see you at the conference?? That would be sad!
Cindy R. Wilson said…
Good list. I am so excited for all of you who get to go. I can't wait to hear about everything you learned and everything that happens there.
Me too Cindy. I've never beent to this conference so it's really exciting!

I can't wait to meet you either Katie! I don't know how we're going to meet.... I can't imagine that we'd miss each other. It would be nice to set something up, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that.
Hi Angeli,
Wow, you are busy. Yikes. I hope I have fun too, and I hope when you're done with school or on break you can hit a conference. :-)

Hi Keli,
I know, lol, it was very cool to see Eileen's on there. :-) I didn't think we needed a proposal either but someone mentioned making one and I thought, well, why not? Then if someone asks I can say, yep, here it is.
Hi Stephanie,
I thought about using Vistaprint but when my hubby used them for the free cards they automatically started charging our credit card for some program, so I wasn't sure. Then I needed a pic, so it wouldn't be free anymore. I ended up going with Staples. :-) We'll see how they turn out.
Thanks T. Anne and Kara.

Wooohoo Jeannie! :-)
LOL Nancy, I've been taking a lot of deep breaths every time I think about the conference! LOL Thank you for the encouragement. I'm anticipating lots of fun, if nothing else. :-)

Hey Anita,
Love the snort! :-) I know, I'm so sorry about your teeth. :-( I thought about volunteering, but since this is only my second one, and my first huge one, I thought it might be better for me to kind of get used to things first.
Hi Dara,
Is the series you're referring to Shogun? My mom read that book and tried to get me to read it in high school, but I was intimidated by the size. LOL I hope you get to go to a conference too. :-)

Hi Jessie,
So was that a one day conference? I think those sound really doable. Glad to know they're helpful too!
Nancy said…
Never heard of a "One Sheet." Yours is beautiful. Don't know if I'd ever be able to make one quite so nice. Interesting info.
Terri Tiffany said…
When do you all go?
I liked doing One-sheets but then ended up not pitching. Instead I met with an editor and she read my first few pages and gave me great pointers for my openings.
I can't wait to hear how you do!!!!
Hi Nancy,
LOL The ones on that site aren't mine, but thank you anyways. :-)

Hey Terri,
Early bird starts Wed. and then Thursday is the main conference. You know, I think I'd prefer pointers than a pitch. LOL
I'm so excited for you!

And I've got plans in the works for an April conference, so I appreciate the pointers!
Unknown said…
Thanks for the heads up on what to take to a conference. Being new to the writing scene, I'm 'cutting my teeth' with a writing course, prior to diving into a conference. Any recommendations for a first conference to attend? FYI - for those looking @ free business cards: www.vistaprint.com does a great job.

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