Kerrie Flanagan is the director of Northern Colorado Writers, a writers’ support organization born from Kerrie’s desire to help writers of all types learn their craft and succeed in the marketplace. Her business started as a small conference targeting local writers in Northern Colorado but has grown steadily. There is now a writers’ studio where classes are held and critique groups can meet, as well as the annual conference.
Welcome, Kerrie. I’m getting very excited about the 2012 conference, especially now that I’ve seen the lineup of workshops, presenters, agents and editors. As usual, you have something for everyone.
The Four P’s for Attending a Writers’ Conference by Kerrie Flanagan, Guest Blogger
Each year I host the Northern Colorado Writers Conference. As we get closer and closer to the event, I get more and more excited. I love spending two full days with writers. My personal opinion is that every writer should attend one conference a year. Of course I am partial to mine, but there are so many wonderful conferences around the country to choose from, you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that fits your needs. (Visit Shaw Guides for conference information).
I have put together these four P’s to help you get the most out of a writers conference you might be attending in the near future.
The Boy Scouts were definitely on to something here. Take time to research the faculty who will be there. This will allow you to figure out who you want to meet and also give you some talking points when you do visit with them. If you are pitching to an agent or editor it is imperative you do some upfront work. (Here is an article I wrote with tips on pitch sessions.) Make a plan of the sessions you want to attend and what you hope to get from them.
Writing is a business and I believe all writers need to treat it as such.Therefore, at a conference you should be professional. Have business cards made and ready to hand out when people ask for one. Be respectful of the agents and editors. You want to be remembered– but not for stalking. Put some thought into what you should wear (think business casual).
A conference is not the time to be a wall-flower and hide in the corner or in your hotel room. It doesn’t matter if you are a self-proclaimed introvert, you need to dig deep inside and unearth any extrovert skills you may have. Introduce yourself to other writers at meals, hand out business cards, ask questions during sessions and talk to the agents and editors. You never know what may come from this meeting.
Go to as many sessions as possible and meet as many people as you can. Regardless of how tired you get, you should stay until the end. There is plenty of time for sleep and rest after the conference. A lot of time goes into making a great event from start to finish, so take advantage of that.
*What are the conferences near you that you will be attending in the next couple of months?
*Do you have any conference advice for those writers new to the conference scene?*
Kerrie’s article mentioned above on How to Pitch to a Literary Agent at a Writers’ Conference for WOW! Women on Writing, is a must read for conference goers.