What to do at a writing conference via Ricardo Fayet #Reedsy #motownwriters


In this edition of the Reedsy marketing newsletter, we’re going to take an even closer look at — you guessed it — writing conferences. More specifically: how to make the most of them when attending.
If you’re wondering which conferences (if any!) you should consider attending in the first place, it means you didn’t read my last newsletter! If that’s the case, you can find it here.
Note: Unfortunately, due to issues related to my passport and the unreliable Spanish post, I won’t actually be able to attend SPS Live in London. However, there is one conference I’ll be attending that I forgot to mention: the Stockholm Writers Festival. It could be an excellent option for those living in Central Europe. Check it out here.
Tip #1: Plan which sections to attendAlmost all writing conferences will share an agenda with attendees at least a few weeks before. 
I always like to have an in-depth look at it, and circle any talks, panels, or round tables of particular interest — and even add them to my personal calendar.
This way, I can then “relax” during the conference itself and focus on the sessions and networking without having to worry about what the next panel is about, or if I’m missing anything important.
Some conferences have several “tracks” with different sessions running at the same time, which means that you might find yourself in a position where you can’t attend two really interesting ones that run at the same time. In cases like this, it’s always good to find a “conference buddy” to share sessions with — each taking notes and then relaying the important information to the other.
Some conferences also record sessions live, so you can access the replays later for the ones you missed.
Tip #2: Find your peersAs writers, we can spend a lot of time sitting alone in front of our computer, typewriter, notebook, or what have you. And while we tend to have our social media friends, groups, and gatherings, nothing beats meeting other writers in person — especially if they write in the same genre as you.
But how do you find those peers and approach them in the first place?
Most conferences will have genre- or topic-specific events as part of the official or non-official schedule. The 20Books conferences, for example, generally have genre dinners/lunches/meetups open to anyone writing in that genre. These are a great way to meet like-minded authors and make friends in your genre.
If you’re not aware of any such meetups, you can create them! Conferences will usually have a Facebook group or other forums for attendees to chat in. So what you can do is post something a few weeks before the conference asking: “Are any other cat cozy authors coming? If so, I’d love to meet up!”
Chances are, you’ll get a bunch of answers and be able to organize your own meetup. The earlier you set it up, the earlier you’ll find your peers and be able to enjoy the rest of the conference in good company.
Tip #3: Make the most of the barWant another uber-simple tip to make new connections? Just hang out at the bar. That’s how I originally met most of the people I know from conferences — and that’s usually where I have the most insightful or productive conversations.
Bars — or lobbies, or coffee shops, but mostly bars, really — are places where people go to relax during a conference. As such, it’s much easier to strike up a conversation there, mingle, and get to know other people.
Let’s say you absolutely want to talk to a particular speaker. What most people will do is try to intercept them after their talk, which leads to massive lines trapping the speaker inside the room when their talk is finished. That’s probably one of the worst moments to talk to someone, as they’ll be exhausted from their workshop, and eager to leave the room.
What they might very much be up for, however, is getting a drink (or a coffee). You can offer to get them one, or just politely ask whether they’ll be at the bar (or in the lobby) later, so you can chat with them in a more relaxed setting.
Tip #4: Define your post-conference prioritiesOne of the best after-effects of a conference is that you generally feel inspired to take on the world. This is good, because you’ll have probably learned a ton of new things — and added tons of new ideas to your to-do list. 
That wave of inspiration won’t last forever, though, so you need to ride it hard to implement as many ideas as possible in the first few weeks immediately after the conference. For that, it’s important that you come back organized, with a clear list of priorities.
For example, you might come back from a conference thinking that you need to make an audiobook, hire someone to take care of your ads, create a different reader magnet, and get started on TikTok. On top of, you know, writing the next book.
Obviously, you can’t do all of that at once. If you try, you’ll likely end up making small progress on all of them, but not fully realizing any of them. And you’ll go back to the same conference next year with the exact same to-do list…
Instead, you should take a step back and ask yourself: which of these is going to have the biggest, most immediate impact on my author business? Start with that, focus all your energy on it to get it done as soon as possible, and then move on to the others.
Prioritizing your post-conference tasks is a simple mental exercise that doesn’t take long. It’s something you can do on the flight (or ride) back, or once you’re sitting back at your usual desk.
That’s it for this week’s tips! Next week, I’ll start sharing some of the insights I gleaned from the last conference I could attend: 20Books Madrid.
Until then, happy writing, and happy marketing!Ricardo

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