Hey! I'm in Florida for a writing conference, and I was hanging out with some conference goers discussing etiquette. Then I decided to write a note about it. Below, are three more tips (because I'm sure I've rambled this about in earlier posts) about how to maximize your writing conference experience.
- There is always something to learn—I’ve attended many wonderful writing conferences with valuable panels, great teachers, and excellent handout materials. Of course, I’ve also been to some conferences that don’t fit that bill. Some of those second types were actually more even more beneficial to me on a personal and professional level because of the people I met (non-panelists) and the things we talked about. Keep your eyes and ears open, even when it isn’t in a classroom setting.
- Do not be a jerk—this is self-explanatory and a lesson you can take with you to places other than writing conferences (you’re welcome). I know I don’t need to explain this to you, but I’ve seen ugly and pretentious behavior at writing conferences. Nobody is going to steal your idea and other writers are not your competition (not in a there can only be one winner kind of way). Be good to people and the universe will respond in kind.
- Keep the sales pitch to a minimum—Do you know who has been trapped in an elevator with an overeager author holding ten copies of the author’s poorly put together book? This guy right here. That kinda bums me out when it happens. But do you know what makes it worse? When the very same author starts trying to sell me a copy of the poorly put together book before he knows me. It’s clear I’ve been reduced to “potential customer” and the webinar the author dude took by the “social media expert” convinced him that it’s best to hit up everybody you see, anywhere you see them, to purchase your book. Rest assured, it is not. The conference isn’t about you peddling copies of your book, it’s about a whole bunch of people who dig writing, talking about writing. If, after you’ve actually built some community, you mention you’ve got spare copies of Harley Ford’s Epic American Dragrace for sale, I won’t begrudge you as hard.
Got it? Cool. Thanks.
See you on the road,