1. Have fun!! It should not be scary! We aren’t scary ladies, just old friends who only see each other once a year (other than social media) and we get a little crazy but almost never scary.
2. Make new friends!! I guarantee this piece of advice is one you should follow. Don’t hang out with the writer’s you get to see every other week at a meeting in your city. Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. We aren’t scary! I have met the most amazing people at the conference, people I talk with on the phone, show my unfinished works for advice, commiserate and celebrate with.
3. LEAVE YOUR SECURITY BLANKIE AT HOME!!!! Please, please, please step out of your comfort zone. Conference is not the time to go wild, no, but it is also not the time to sit in the corner and hope someone comes and talks to you. If you walk into a room and see a table half full, sit down with them rather than at an empty one. Yes, sometimes they will be saving seats, but most of the time you’ll meet someone new!
4. Be professional in both manner and dress. Don’t wear your trackies and ugg boots to the day sessions so you can be comfortable. Dress up! Have fun with your outfits and stand out a bit. You won’t regret it! Be nice to everyone! One day we were sitting at breakfast and there was a lady sitting on her own so we invited her over. She was the Australian head of Harlequin. Another time we invited someone for dinner so she wouldn’t have to sit on her own and it was Jennifer Kloester. We had a great time! I’ve had an editor not show for an appointment but instead of cracking the shits and having a go, I waited for her for two hours and got to meet and hang out with Tricia Stringer. Turns out there was a mix up and we rescheduled. Easy peasy =)
5. Have your elevator pitch ready. If you can’t sum up your book in one sentence, get a piece of paper out as soon as you read this blog and get started! There have been authors sell books in elevators. Never in bathrooms though. And don’t laugh because I’ve actually seen a budding writer hanging outside, and then follow an agent into, the bathroom. Let the pee in peace. Please.
6. Umm, don’t drink too much. I know it shouldn’t have to be said and please, have fun, but don’t get smashed. Remember you have to sit through the next day and face people over the breakfast table…
7. Last but not least, remember we aren’t competing against each other for publishing contracts. Every writer writes differently and every editor and publisher is different. Just write the best book you can, pitch it to the right editor/agent/publisher (and send it off after!!! 80% of pitchers don’t actually send the book in). Be friends, be shoulders to cry on and high fives in the good times. We aren’t competing.
We’re one big happy family and if you follow a few of these tips, you’ll be welcomed with open arms, big glasses of wine and endless bowls of chocolates