|My business card holder.|
Did I mention I don't know nothing about attending no conference? The advice I'm passing along is gleaned only from my own (current) experience.
Sign up for Everything (Free)
It's your dime, you need to throw yourself into the proceedings like it's the last day of the renaissance faire and you've got one of those cool pointy hats to show off.
That means sign up for the pitch sessions, the genre lunches, the critiques, the networking lunches/breakfasts/dinners. Anything that's free. Then, if there seems to be a paid event that really speaks to you, splurge on it, if you can.
Look at the Schedule with a Critical Eye
It's a little like perusing a box of chocolates - all the workshops look good. All of them have something you can learn, something you need. But you can't attend all of them. So what do you do? As my yoga teacher says, create an intention for your practice. Meaning, what, if you could only accomplish one thing, do you want to achieve? Do you want to focus on your writing? On getting published? On meeting the most people? On self-promotion? Or is there a specific topic that you really need to master, like self publishing or using social media? You'll have the chance to accomplish more than one thing, but if you focus first on just one are, you'll be able to hone in on most of your workshops. Then, you'll see that you'll have some time for the extras. I'm concentrating on writing (the first page, story arc, voice) but I hope to throw in some pitching/agent info too.
Once you Choose your Workshops, Prep for Them
Some workshops have specific requirements, first two pages, synopsis, query letter, pitch. Most don't. But I'm going to make a radical suggestion. Even if it's not required, draft one up. Even if no one will ask you for it, have all of the above written and with you. Why? Because you'll go into all of your workshops with that experience already under your belt. Even if it's just the experience of trying to do them you'll understand a lot more about what the workshop leaders mean, if you've already 'trod' that road, at least once, before.
Another way you can prep for your workshops is just thinking about the topic. What do you think about self-publishing? What questions/apprehensions do you have about it? What is the question you hope the leader answers? You'll have a better chance of getting those questions answered if you think of them, and write them down, before hand
Here are some links for reference:
So what do you think? Anything you want to add? Anything I'm so off base about?
Tomorrow: SNACKS! Not just for hiking or pre-school anymore, and what the hell does business casual mean in the real world?