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  • [NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] 3 Tips for Attending Writing Conferences
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[NETWORKING FOR INTROVERTS] 3 Tips for Attending Writing Conferences
Contributor
Written by
Meghan Ward
December 2014
Contributor
Written by
Meghan Ward
December 2014

I had the fortune to attend the BlogHerPro conference in Redwood City with Shebooks last week. What fun! I'll be sharing what I learned about blogging in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, a few tips for attending any conference:

 

1. Always carry business cards!

I remembered this time to carry both business cards and postcards that advertise my book, Runway. I took about 50 of each because there's no telling how many people you will meet at a conference. This conference was small, about 130 attendees, but I must have handed out 20-25 business cards. What surprised me was how many people did not have business cards to hand out in return. Don't go to a conference without business cards! Half the purpose of being there is to learn from the speakers, panels, and workshops. The other half is to network. Don't waste a valuable opportunity to connect with other authors and potential readers!

 

2. Too shy to network? Ask someone about her/his writing.

You may be thinking, "But I'm too shy to network!" "Network" is a big, scary word, but networking is nothing more than talking to people. Sit at a table with people you don't know and then talk to them! All you have to do is ask, "So, what are you working on?" or "What do you write?" In my case, the question at BlogHerPro was, "What do you blog about?" Everyone there had a blog, and everyone was happy to discuss it. Ice broken. Business cards exchanged. Networking completed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my kids would say. (By the way, I use PS Print for business cards. They're located here in Oakland, CA, and they're relatively inexpensive. On them I include my name, website, blog, Twitter handle, Facebook page, and email address. You can add Pinterest, Instagram, whatever matters to you most. Below is mine.)

 

 

3. Connect with people right after you meet them

I'm terrible at this because I spend the days after a conference catching up on all the things I should have been doing while I was at the conference, but good networkers follow up the SAME day or the NEXT day with an e-mail, a Twitter follow, or a Facebook friend request. I received an e-mail from one blogger I met at BlogHerPro the next day saying, "So great to meet you at BlogHer. If you're interested in following my blog..." It was a very smart and professional move on her part, and it's on my to-do list to do the same to all the bloggers whose business cards I collected. Better late than never!

 

What about you? What wisdom do you have to share about attending writers' conferences and other events?

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Comments
  • Meghan Ward

    Nina, it's been a while since I've been to a writers' conference where my work was critiqued. I have a pretty tough skin when it comes to my writing, but yes, that must have been tough to be told your beloved title had to go! I'm glad you went with the flow. My feeling about writing advice is that if three or more people have the same advice, I should probably take it.

  • Meghan Ward

    Jean, I would LOVE to go to Kauai! How fun! I doubt I'll be able to make it, but I'll check it out.

  • Nina Angela McKissock

    I attended the Algonquian Writers Conference in NYC last year. It was my first conference and I was very excited. My advice to first timers is to be tough and flexible. The very first suggestion they made was to change the title; my BELOVED title. I couldn't believe it, but as the days went on I realized that these talented editors and agents were being honest with me. I stopped licking my wounds and bucked up and changed the damn title and improved my pitch. I have this horrible habit of sometimes getting a trembley chin when I feel very strongly about something. That had to go. Stat. They were very blunt, almost sarcastic, but I learned a lot. I look forward to attending one with my novel in hand.

  • Meghan Ward

    Hi, Kelle! Welcome!

  • Jean Rhude

    Now that you know WHAT to do consider doing it May 1-3 at the Kauai Writers Conference, (google the above).  We have amazing authors, editors and agents and three days on beautiful Kauai.  Just being in the trades, surrounded by Aloha will make it easier.  I'm a classic INFJ so its' not easy for me but asking about someone else work is a great suggestion.  Writers create such intimacy and we are all so eager to help one another.  I hope to see you in May.

  • Kelle Grace Gaddis

    I'm new to She Writes and look forward to meeting some of the other members.