If you’re preparing to go to a writers conference, here are a few tips based on questions authors have asked over the years about agent and editor appointments:
1. What do I wear?
Each conference has its own personality. Visit the conference website to glean information concerning accommodations and weather. Comfortable, flattering clothes that show polish are available at different price points. But first, look in your closet. You probably already own enough great outfits to see you through.
2. How do I use my one-sheets?
Many writers like to present their story, photo, bio, and contact information on one page. Editors and agents often take these home, but few accept chapters and full proposals. Imagine toting fifty submissions on a plane! However, be prepared with a few pages of the manuscript and proposal if the agent asks.
3. What contact information should I take with me?
For an appointment with an editor, include your agent’s contact information on the one-sheets and sample chapters. Talk to your agent to stay on the same page with what projects you’re pitching to editors, and decide which editors you should see.
Make sure you bring business cards to keep up with your new industry friends. Steve Laube says that each night he gathers the one-sheets and business cards he collected. Along with that day’s schedule, he notes in his Moleskine notebook to reconstruct the items that need follow-up and the people he met. This process could be one way for you to recap and retain the day’s events.
4. What should I strive to achieve during my appointments?
Get to know an industry professional. The one-sheet is not your do-or-die document. A one-sheet will give you talking points and something to present to the editor; but, really, you are demonstrating a bit of who you are. You want to convey your business style and show the editor or agent that you are easy to work with, professional, and willing to do as the Lord leads to be a successful, published author.
5. What about after the conference?
Because making a firm decision about an author’s work during a brief appointment is difficult for most editors and agents, you are likely to receive several requests to submit a proposal or manuscript after the conference. Take the time you need to polish your work, but do be prepared to follow up after you return.
I wish you great conference success, fellowship, and fun!