Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a newbie, there’s so much to see and do at a writing conference! You can meet other writers, learn more about the writing craft, get networking advice, connect with literary agents and journal editors, gain some new readers, and much more. If there’s a writing conference scheduled near you, Writer’s Relief strongly encourages you to check it out! However, while writing conferences can be wonderful opportunities, they can also be exhausting—especially if you’re an introverted writer. Don’t worry—we’ve got your back! Here’s our ultimate writing conference survival guide.
Writing Conference Survival Guide
Get A Full Night Of Sleep
You may be a night owl, but if you want to survive a full day at a writing conference, you’re going to need your rest! Getting enough sleep is one of the simplest and best ways to energize yourself for a day packed with networking and interacting with writers, agents, and readers.
Stay Hydrated And Fed
A writing conference or convention is going to be a busy time, especially if you’re attending multiple panels or book signings. There may be no time for you to grab some water or a quick bite to eat. Having a water bottle on hand and a bag filled with smart snacks will keep you alert (and stave off any “hangry” moments) as you wait for the next panel to start.
There are events you won’t want to miss, and planning out your schedule ahead of time will make things much easier. Knowing that the book signing at 1:30 p.m. is down the hall and up a flight of stairs from the author panel at 2:00 p.m. will help you plan your activities for the day. You might end up ditching parts of your itinerary on the fly (a spontaneous side trip to the museum sounds interesting!), but you’ll have a starting point. And you’re less likely to find yourself running in circles trying to find the book signing room with barely five minutes to spare.
Bring Your Own Books
Whether you’re selling your new books or offering a few free copies, a writing conference can be a great place to gather new fans. Writers are readers too! Before you head to the conference, find out if there will be a space where authors can offer free copies. Pro Tip: Place copies of the first book in your series on the free books table. Fans who enjoy the first book are more likely to purchase the rest of the books in a series.
And if you’re participating in a book signing event, you’ll need books to sign—and sell!
Promote Your Writing
Do you have a tote bag featuring your new novel’s cover? Maybe a bracelet with an impactful quote? Or maybe a few bookmarks that would fit nicely within your newest novel’s pages? Don’t leave those things at home! A writing conference is the perfect place to hand out those giveaways. People using your tote bag to carry stuff from other authors will provide free advertising for your book wherever they go! And potential buyers who don’t have room for another book in their suitcases might grab a bookmark, keychain, or business card that features all the info needed to buy your book later.
Bring A Friend
Trying to navigate a writing conference alone can be stressful and tiring. Attending the conference with a writing buddy or a friend can help ensure you’re not overextending yourself. A friend, family member, or writer pal can provide an extra pair of hands to assist when you’re at your busiest. Teaming up with another writer can also make it easier to network. Introductions will be easier (and less intimidating) if your companion is already chatting with a literary magazine editor or an author you’d love to meet.
Know When To Take A Break
We understand: Writing conferences and conventions are exciting! But knowing when you’re at your limit is just as important as getting the most out of your conference experience. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or overtired, consider taking a step back. You may want to temporarily retreat to your hotel room, a nearby café, or even a quiet corner. If you have a journal, consider writing down your musings about your conference experience. When you feel recharged (and maybe rehydrated and fed), you’ll be able to get back out there and enjoy more of what the conference has to offer!
Attending a writing conference or convention can fill you with new ideas and inspiration for your short stories, poetry, or novel—and the tips in this survival guide will help make it a pleasant experience! Once your writing has been edited, proofread, and polished, we can help you get your work into the hands of the right editors or literary agents. We’ll do all the research heavy lifting to boost your odds of getting published! Learn more about our services and submit your work to our Review Board today!
Whether you want to take the traditional publishing route or are thinking about self-publishing, we can help. Give us a call, and we will point you in the right direction!
Question: What tips do you have for other writers attending a writing conference?