Congratulations! So you took the plunge, as I did, and registered for a great Writers’ Conference, like Maranatha.
Now you prepare, as thoroughly as you can. Here’s my top five tips to help make your Writers’ Conference worthwhile:
- Pray. Prayer should be the foundation of everything you do, as a writer, and a Christian. From the first words on your page, to the last step inside that conference door, PRAY. I love what Mark Batterson says about the role prayer played in the journey to publication of his first book:
I don’t just write books; I circle them in prayer. To me, writing is praying with a keyboard….I didn’t write that book; I prayed that book.
Pray: about the right conference to attend; the right people to see; the right words to say.
2. Research. Once you have chosen the right conference, do your research thoroughly. Research the faculty and staff in attendance. What publishers or agents might be interested in your genre? If they are offering one-on-one consultations (as Maranatha does), make sure you are booked in with them. If you can only attend for one day, choose the day when they will be there. Research the workshops offered. Sign up for all that interest you.
3. Prepare. If you have paid to attend a conference, you need to be wise about your investment. The last thing you want is to return from that conference saying, I wish I’d taken this, or, if only I’d done that…
Carefully prepare your book proposal to share with publishers and agents. For my book, I used a template from Michael Hyatt:
This free nonfiction book proposal template by Karen Porter is also very useful. Once you’ve written your proposal, consider having it edited by a professional. Children’s book author Crystal Bowman edited my proposal and offers a great editing service to children’s writers.
Once you’re satisfied that your proposal is the very best it can be, print off several copies on good quality paper and be sure to attach your business card, preferably one containing your photograph. (Publishers and agents are meeting with many people. You want yours to be the face they remember).
Finally, practice, practice, practice your pitch to the professionals. You don’t want to be stumbling over your words. You only get one chance to make a first impression… make it a good one.
4. Network. Once you’re at the conference, take advantage of every opportunity to network with other attendees and professionals. Swap business cards. Learn from others. Mix and mingle. Make connections. These folks will become invaluable contacts who will support and encourage you in your publishing journey, as you do the same for them.
5. Take Notes. You are a writer…. write everything down, whether on your phone, iPad, or whatever works best for you. I personally am one of those old-fashioned writers who use those two ancient tools beginning with p. Whatever you use, take notes on what you hear. You will quickly forget all that information once you return home.
And one final piece of advice… if you do manage to get your proposal in the hands of someone who’s interested, be sure to enquire (politely) when and how you can expect to hear from them. If they tell you to contact them after a certain period of time, make sure you have their contact details. ( I didn’t do that…and it was an agonizing wait).
I just registered for Maranatha. It’s not too late… perhaps I’ll see you there! And you never know, that one book offer might just turn into five, because after all, God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20
What other advice would you give to aspiring authors? What tips have worked well for you?