Conference Challenge #8: Prepare for a Successful Conference!

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

My apologies. 😦 Normally, we post the final challenge a week before the conference in order to give folks time to catch up, but we kind of messed up the dates this time around! Because of this, we’re posting a day early and your final challenge is going to be something all attendees should be doing anyway this week: Spending at least thirty minutes preparing for a successful conference!

Is this your first conference?

Awesome! I’m so happy you’re taking a major step to better your career. Refer to my Conference Critique Workshop #4 post that has general tips. Some ways even us veterans can prepare for the conference are:

  1. Printing business cards. Nothing fancy, just your name, phone number, and email address on standard business card paper from Staples is fine! You never know who you’ll meet and business cards are a lot easier than scribbling on scrap paper. 🙂
  2. Previewing books that our presenting editors and agents have represented in order to get a better feel of their tastes.
  3. Printing directions to The Claggett Center or loading the GPS now rather than waiting until Saturday morning when you’re already late! (Been there, done that.)
  4. Or reviewing the schedule to decide which breakout sessions you’d like to attend.

Have you paid for a critique?

Then refer to the same above Workshop #4: Surviving your first critique and prepare by:

  1. Printing a copy of your manuscript so you can follow along without having to crane your neck to read your reviewer’s copy.
  2. Making a list of specific questions about your manuscript or publishing in general so you’ll be ready if there’s any spare time and you’ll get the most for your money!
  3. And for a bonus: Memorizing a short, intriguing pitch for the manuscript you’re having reviewed and any others. That way, if an editor or agent asks, “Tell me about your story,” or “What else are you working on,” you won’t become all deer in headlights, and mumble, “Um . . . it’s, ah . . . you know, about a girl.” Again. Been there, done that.

Don’t have a pitch for your manuscript?

No worries, you still have time. Check out my Workshop #5: Perfecting Your Book Pitch post for tips!

Are you going to participate in the First Page/First Looks session?

If your answer is no, then seriously reconsider. They are AWESOME! And if you’re lucky enough to have your page selected, where else will you get the chance to receive instant feedback from the pros . . . for free??

If you are participating, then now is the time to spit-shine and polish the sucker. For some tips, refer to Workshop #2: Amazing First Pages and to be sure your submission is formatted correctly, Workshop #3: Formatting.

Once it’s ready, be sure to follow these guidelines that are slightly different from the SCBWI MD/DE/WV website, now that we know how many people will be on each panel:

  1. Fiction authors of novels and picture books, bring 6 printed copies, (paper-clipped together,) of your first page (double-spaced, 250 word maximum, size 12 font, no visible names,) to be handed in first thing Sunday morning.
  2. Nonfiction authors, bring 3 printed copies of your first page with same above specifications.
  3. Illustrators, please send 3 jpg images to Susan Detwiler by Friday, June 22nd.

Will you be attending Richard Peck’s “You’re only as good as your first line,” breakout?

Awesome, I can’t WAIT for this one! And Mr. Peck has requested that each attendee come prepared with their own first line. Need some help with yours? Then refer to Workshop #1: Opening Lines for some tips and examples.

Have you missed our previous challenges and still want to be entered in the raffle?

No worries, you still have time to catch up, but our deadline is Friday at midnight. Here’s the links:

Conference Challenge #1 – Voice or Point of View?

Conference Challenge #2 – Why do you love it?

Conference challenge #3 – Give yourself a Woo Hoo!

Conference Challenge #4 – Speed Plotting

Conference Challenge #5: The Reverse Book Trailer

Conference Challenge #6: Famous Quotes

Conference Challenge #7: Happy Active 4th of July!

Have a great week, and be sure to say hi to Larissa Graham, Susan Mannix, and me at the conference! We love meeting new writers. 🙂

About Laura Bowers

Laura is a writer, runner, reader, runDisney addict, blogger/vlogger at Write, Run, Rejoice and Joyful Miles, mom of two awesome boys, wife of one fantastic husband, excellent chili maker, and obsessive list keeper. She loves run-on sentences and adverbs. She also still thinks Spice World was an awesome movie and feels no shame about that.
This entry was posted in Conference Information, Conference Tips, Writing & Drawing Exercises. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Conference Challenge #8: Prepare for a Successful Conference!

  1. Sue Poduska says:

    Me! I’ve done all of this! Yay!

    I intended to do one more challenge, but the hullabaloo is catching up with me.

    Like you always say, “But … Richard Peck.”

  2. Yay! I’ve been doing this for the past few weeks – and I already have it on my schedule for today and tomorrow too. I can complete this challenge without adding to my to-do list! Woo hoo!!

  3. teresamis says:

    With this being my first conference, I found this challenge to be absolutely, positively, tremendously helpful!!!! I have all my directions, my business cards, my schedule, my “follow along” copy, my first page, and my pitches. Woooo. Now to memorize and breathe. Thank you for helping me be prepared.

  4. It’s my first conference too, and I liked having a checklist provided.
    I seem to have spent more than 30 minutes going through it and still haven’t printed a copy of my book because I am working on it every day. Of course, this draft looks a little different from the draft I sent for the critique but I couldn’t seem to put it aside.
    And I haven’t even considered a pitch but that will give me something to do Friday night as I sit in the hotel room. But what to wear, what to wear…
    So I guess I have more or less met the challenge, but I am feeling woefully unprepared…
    See you all this weekend.

  5. Pingback: Friendly Challenge Reminder « As the Eraser Burns

  6. Sharon says:

    Behind the game…busy with Edie’s class, but SO excited about conference! I did this challenge #8 and read all the great advice:) I am hoping to do some of the other writing challenges before midnight on Friday!

  7. Arlene Finocchiaro says:

    Thanks for all the updates and reminders. The reviews for format and suggestions for business cards and what to have ready have my wheels turning and ready to go for the conference.

  8. Miranda McClain says:

    I’ve completed this challenge. I’m sure I spent more than 30 minutes. I’m just about all set and can’t wait. Now if I can just get the dishes done too…

  9. Joy Heyer says:

    I’m ready and excited! Challenge completed.

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