Friday, September 23, 2011

Storyteller's Journey

What to do before attending a
Writers' Conference

Once I realized I would be attending a writers' conference this fall I began diligently researching any helpful information in preparation of that opportunity. Numerous on-line sites have valuable advice; however, I found I had to piece them together to suit my needs. This week and the next, I will share that collection of helpful tips with you. Today's post contains ways a writer should prepare long before it's time for a conference.

Being a writer is one thing, being a published author is another. Understanding that if you're serious about being the latter there are many things to consider, such as:

Create your writer's platform - This is how well you are known as a writer. Blogging, Facebook, and Twitter are all great ways to help get yourself known. There are various other ways as well, volunteering and teaching are just a couple.

Be familiar with your genre - Read and be familiar with books that are similar to your manuscript. Winnie the Pooh may have been your favorite as a child, but writing styles change.

Flap Copy - Write a synopsis of your story in flap copy style. This will be useful to have in a possible query letter; it also forces you to really know your story, and present it in its best light. Notice: a flap copy is written, a pitch is verbal.

Pitches - There are elevator pitches, thirty second pitches, and two minute pitches. Hopefully you will have one of each polished before you attend a conference. Depending on the situation, we need to be prepared to share our stories verbally in a confident and relaxed manner. A good pitch has three parts: the opening conflict, the obstacle, and the quest.

Purchase Business Cards - You never know when you'll meet a fellow writer, but also, these we'll be definitely needed at a conference!

Be Smart - If you are hoping to meet a specific agent, be prepared. Familiarize yourself with the type of books she prefers, and also some of her actual clients and their books. There is no need to waste your time, or hers, when the two of you may be on different pages. You may even choose to attend a specific conference because she will be there - that's what I did. This also may be helpful if in fact you do meet that special agent - you will have something valid to talk about besides yourself.

Next week's post: Tips when meeting an Agent.

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