Tips for Attending a Small Writer’s Conference
Today's post is by OCFW member Robin Patchen.
I attended the OWFI conference in May, and I learned a few of things about attending small conferences that I thought I’d share.
Volunteer: I agreed to be the helper for Normandie Fischer, an editor at a very small publishing house. From her bio and website, I could tell she was a talented writer and a Christian. I figured maybe if I did a good job, she’d take pity on me and look at my writing.
Well, Normandie and I hit it off immediately, and by the time we sat down to lunch after I’d picked her up at the airport on Thursday, we were like long lost sisters. She has indeed agreed to help me with my writing, and I’m helping her, too.
Now I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same experience as I did, but who knows what kind of folks God will let you meet when you’re willing to volunteer.
Engage in the activities: I’m an introvert, secretly always looking for a way to be alone. But these conferences don’t last long enough to waste time. Because of my connection with Normandie, I had lunch with her and her agent, Terry Burns, along with a few other authors on Friday. I also attended a pre-conference dinner on Thursday night for speakers and their helpers, where I sat with the keynote speaker, Steven James. Even though I was exhausted, I stayed for the banquet Friday night and heard a hilarious speech. In other words, I threw myself into the conference rather than allowing myself to flitter in and out like a schizophrenic butterfly. Was it hard? Sometimes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
Pitch your story: Even if your dream agent and editor aren’t there, you should pitch, because the more often you pitch your story, the better you’ll be at it. So look for an agent or editor interested in what you sell—even if you don’t think he’d be a good fit for you—and pitch away. Worst case scenario, you learn a little more about pitching, which gets you one step closer to publication.
So to get the most out of your small, local conferences, volunteer, engage in the activities, and pitch your work. Who knows what God will do with your efforts?