Preparing To Meet Your Destiny


Can you believe it? The national RWA conference is only thirty days away. It's almost time to kiss hubby goodbye, and to hug the kid's, and then run.

And don't forget about the pets. Pat them and promise to bring back a treat.


So you’re planning on attending this totally awesome event. Well, how do you prepare for it? I’m not talking about what do I pack or what type of clothing should I wear? That is a no-brainer. Business casual. I’m talking about how do you prepare to make the most of the experience?

Well, first, relax. There is no reason to become stressed. Everyone going to the conference is riding the same wave you are. The ones who prepare will land on the beach more gracefully, that’s all.

Second. Determine what is your goal in attending the conference? Is it to learn about the craft of writing? Are you interested in learning more about the publishing world? Do you have an agent and editor appointment in hopes of gaining interest in your work? Are you looking to network, and make connections with other writers or industry professionals? Whatever your reason, you do need to prepare.

Third, HOW?

Okay, First, this item is important for all the reasons listed above. Business cards. You must have plenty of business cards. You don’t have to special order cards. You can buy printable business cards at Walmart. The cards should have basic information; your name, pseudonym, address, email address and phone number. That’s it. If you want artwork, fine. Just don’t let the artwork over shadow your name and make your contact information so small it will take a magnifying glass to see the information. Remember you want people to remember your name not oh, how cute the kittens were.

You’ve identified your purpose of attending and that is...

a)To learn about the craft. Conferences schedules are filled with valuable workshops. It’s like going to a smorgasbord of knowledge and we tend to say oh, I want to see this and hear her, and my chapter mate is speaking. The thing is, we can’t be everywhere and hear all. So you need to decide ahead of time what your writing weaknesses are and attend specific workshops that will help you. Don’t worry what workshop your friend is going to. She might need help with POV. You’ve got that down pat.

Or if you’re craft savvy, attend the workshops which deal with the industry. It’s on spinning off in many directions right and you might want to hear what the BIG 6 and others are saying.

Don’t burn yourself out running from class to class, because there is one. Which leads to the next reason. Networking.

b)Networking. Most writers are introverts. We spend long hours by ourselves. We like being by ourselves. Suddenly we’re surrounded by people. Remember they’re introverts just like yourself. Be yourself. Smile. Say hi. Start a conversation. Exchange cards. It’s that simple.

Note of common sense: When approaching people who are having a conversation, study their body language. If they open the circle to you, then they too are looking to network, but if they turn away, however slight, move on. They’re most likely having a personal conversation which is not open to newcomers.

Ahead of time, practice reciting your book’s blurb. You’ll meet agents, editors, other writers and even readers—all who will ask you about your writing.

Practice conversations. What questions would you ask of an editor or agent or an author you adore? It’s easier to have a conversation with someone if you think about it ahead of time. If you don’t believe me, try it. Think of three topics to discuss with your spouse or a friend. Practice and then have it. You’ll see. The conversation will flow.

Over the years, I’ve made tons of friends. Each has brought joy to my life. So go get them.

c)Finally, the dreaded editor and agent appointments. Don’t sweat it. Practice your pitch. Know your book. Know your characters and relax. Editors and agents are just people. They’re there hoping someone will wow them. So do it.



Last bit of advice. Have fun.

13 comments

  1. Tamara LeBlanc // May 28, 2011 at 10:42 AM  

    Autumn,
    I enjoyed this post thoroughly! It's making me so excited for the trip to NY. And I hadn't realized it's only a month away. Wow, time flies. I'm running out of time to buy a few more pair of gorgeous heels. I better get crakin'!
    Have a great weekend!!
    Tamara

  2. Autumn Jordon // May 28, 2011 at 10:47 AM  

    Awesome! Maybe we'll run into each other.

    If you find the heel that wears like a sneaker or a sneaker that looks like a heel, let me know. I'm dreading wearing heels. Can you tell?

    Have fun shopping.

  3. Beth Trissel // May 28, 2011 at 4:35 PM  

    Have a safe and fabulous time, Autumn.

  4. Pamela Varnado // May 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM  

    Autumn, thanks for all the sound advice. I always look forward to National and all the craft information I learn and new friends I meet. This will be my second RWA in NY.I made the mistake of walking through Central Park last time and became sick afterwards. My allergies were so bad I had to take meds and sleep. This time, I'm avoiding so much nature. Thankfully, Mother Mary was there to take care of me.

  5. Josie // May 28, 2011 at 8:52 PM  

    Autumn,
    I'm not attending this NY conference, but I'm so excited for all of you attending. These conferences are awesome!

  6. Autumn Jordon // May 28, 2011 at 9:10 PM  

    Thanks, Beth. I'll share what I learn. WINK

    Pam, Gosh, I hope we run into each other. It would be great to meet you in person.

    Josie, I'm really getting excited. This might be my last national for a while. Not going to CA next year.

  7. Judy // May 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM  

    Nice column. I'm sorry I won't be there...Hope y'all have great success!!

  8. Mary Ricksen // May 29, 2011 at 6:41 PM  

    You are so right Autumn. Especially about the networking. That is how you most probably have the best chance to sell your book these days.
    And you do make wonderful friends!!!
    Have a good time. I decided to go to the conference in New Orleans. I like them a bit smaller and with some good fun networking to go with it!
    And don't forget to smile no matter what!!!

  9. Mary Ricksen // May 29, 2011 at 6:41 PM  

    You are so right Autumn. Especially about the networking. That is how you most probably have the best chance to sell your book these days.
    And you do make wonderful friends!!!
    Have a good time. I decided to go to the conference in New Orleans. I like them a bit smaller and with some good fun networking to go with it!
    And don't forget to smile no matter what!!!

  10. Barbara Monajem // May 29, 2011 at 11:46 PM  

    Only a month away! Yikes! I'm going for too many reasons, but I've learned not to expect to get everything done. Regardless, it'll be fun. :)

  11. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 30, 2011 at 12:33 AM  

    Good advice Autumn! I'm looking forward to attending National this year. It will be interesting being in NYC! This is my first trip to the big apple and I'm very excited.

  12. Mary Marvella // May 30, 2011 at 1:11 AM  

    I can finally get to comments! YAY! We really need to swap phone numbers and plan a meeting,maybe for a drink or a meal.

  13. Mona Risk // May 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM  

    No RWA for me this year. Last year I met Barbara and Mary M. It was great. I am at a point in my life where I'm debating what to do with myself and if this business is worth the trouble. So I am staying in place to blog. LOL. I have been in my cave editing non-stop.

    Have fun girls.