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Friday, October 7, 2011

Writers' Conferences - A Primer


TOP TEN THINGS LEARNED OR CONFIRMED AT MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS
(Basic tips to be applied to all future conferences)

10.  Bring snacks. You never know when a hotel will have done away with ALL vending machines and you're going to be hungry at inconvienent times.
9.  Bring your own normal sized coffee pot and good coffee for your room.  Trust us, you'll need the caffeine and the little typical two cup pots in the rooms won't cut it.
8.  Bring cash for taxis and hotel bar.  Darlene, bartender extraordinaire might make the world's best Cosmos, but she doesn't run a tab and she doesn't take American Express.
7.  Bring comfy shoes.  Not for the use of walking around the conference (we prefer heels, bandaids, and numbing spray because that's how the M Shelf rolls), but for when you can't sleep at 4am, you're hungry, and you have to walk 5 blocks to the all night diner.  Again, because the hotel has no vending machines. :)
6.  Talk to everyone, and we mean EVERYONE.  You meet interesting people and there is something to learn from every writer at every stage in their career.  Mingling is a must!
5.  Bring eye drops.  You'll either have "I only got 4 hours of sleep" eyes or you'll need the drops after crying your eyes out at the Keynote Luncheon.
4.  Bring Physician's Formula yellow highlighter stick for dark, under eye circles.  Again, because you'll never get a full 8 hours of sleep and the dark circles will make their presence known.  Don't look a hot mess, slap on some yellow!
3.  Write down your pitch appointments & other key times on a post-it and slide the post-it into your conference badge.  It's easy to reach and always with you.  Plus, it's easy to add other appointments when it's so handy, which leads us to number...
2.  Hang out near the appointment area and support your friends who are spazzing out before their pitch.  Unless there's a workshop to attend, if you lurk (in a good way) near the appointment staging area, you might luck out and get a bonus appointment (or two).  It's amazing how many people don't show up for their appointment and the coordinator will need to fill it on the fly!
And...
1.  TAKE YOUR BUSINESS CARDS EVERYWHERE, even into the ladies room.  Especially into the ladies room.  A lot of networking goes on in the ladies room and y'all know it.  The cards aren't so much for  agents and editors as they are for your fellow writers.  You want to network, schedule workshops for your chapter, follow their blog, have them follow yours, be tweeter tweeps - they'll need your card!

And that's it for M&M posts and tips.  Makes me sad actually.
We can't wait to go back next year!  October 4th - 7th, 2012. 
Mark your calendars!

4 comments:

Elizabeth Michels said...

Nice tips. I'm glad we thought to take the mini bar and hair products! We're going to have to figure out how to fit the coffee pot in our luggage when we go to nationals in California. :)

Darcy Drake said...

I cannot wait for next year!

Hm. I cannot think of anything else to add to the list. You were thorough! Maybe for going to CA, you could ship yourself a box with things like a coffee pot? Might be easier than trying to fit one in a suitcase.

Elizabeth Michels said...

Darcy, perhaps spider repellent would come in handy? Just a thought. ;)

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