How to Attend a Writer’s Conference
Many of you are attending writer’s conferences this fall. With that, your expectations are on the rise. You might find yourself asking questions like:
“Is my project ready for review?”
“Can I actually speak to a publishing professional about what I’ve written?”
“Should I put my baby out there, for the world to see?”
Or, something to that effect. The answer to all three is, in my opinion is “Yes.”
Now, I can think of some agents and editors that would disagree with me. The point of the thing, usually, is to look for a diamond in the rough. And rough often is just that. A great idea in the midst of passive voices, head hopping dynamos, misplaced modifiers, spiced commas, and other grammatical no-no’s.
And, now that I’ve voiced that, I shudder. Because, the next part is every bit as important. (Writer’s, hold on to your hat. I’m going to ask you the BIG QUESTION.) Ahem.
Are you an author of one book? Or are you a working writer?
There. That’s this acquisition editor’s biggie for the upcoming writer’s conference. What’s the difference, you might ask?
The difference is threefold:
- A working writer is willing to take constructive criticism.
- A working writer will have a notepad and pen at the ready at all points during the meeting.
- A working writer will not explain every reason of why they did something, but listen to the end and mull comments over. * (okay, so this is a hard one even for me — but it’s true. The Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason! and yes, my inner mama is showing.)
An author of one book has just that. One book. They consider it finished, and ready for publication. And there is nothing wrong with that. Unless. And that’s a BIG unless. Even if you are offered a contract, there is significant editing that must happen before a book goes to print. At every phase of your writing career, you must be able to accept constructive criticism of your one book. Your baby. And, as a mother and writer, I understand that this is HARD to do.
But, you are taking the first step. You are attending a conference. You have copies of your work in hand, pen at the ready, and are out there–meeting like-minded folks who are using the (literal) talent’s God gave you to spread His message and His truth.
So remember, not one of us are perfect people, and even in the best of published works, mistakes can be found. My own father reads with a red-pen, his inner proofreader loves to find mistakes in print. And, you never know which direction you’ll be steered to find that moment of inspiration.
Please know that everyone in the faculty is as anxious as you are to see and hear and read the works you are preparing. So here are a few tips on how to prepare:
- Develop your pitch. Tell your WHOLE story in 25 words or less.
- Plan your time. Review who is on the faculty — and reflect on what you would like to learn from any/all of them.
- Bring business cards. Time is precious — so, be sure and pass out your information quickly and effectively, a business card, even one you print yourself, with name, email and contact information is key.
Good luck, God bless, and keep writing!
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