This weekend I’ll be attending my second DFW Writers’ Convention, held in the Hurst Convention Center.
It’s the biggest gathering of writers of all sorts in my area, and–importantly!–is attended by authors of all stripes, as well as editors, marketers, agents, and other folks interested in books and writing. It’s kinda a big deal.
I went last year, and it pretty much scared the pants off me. Like, I don’t think I could have been more nervous if you’d told me it was a walking-on-hot-coals-over-a-volcano conference. But I went, met some nice people, got to chat with two agents, and felt it was overall a good experience.
So I’m trying to prep for this year. My goal last year was a) to show up (accomplished!) and b) talk to people, even though I found that really hard. This year, I’m going to try to “connect”/”network” with two people. That sounds low, but I’m not naturally comfortable with small talk, so my goal is basic: just make a connection with two people that can continue after the conference.
I bought two sets of business cards, one advertising my book and one advertising my editing business. I’m planning out my outfits and going to build my schedule of what I actually hope to attend and where (so hard to choose when good classes are simultaneous!).
I’ve been doing a bit of research on Louise Fury, who I’m lucky enough to have a pitch session with, trying to plan out what might appeal to her. I feel more relaxed about it than last year, because now that I’ve done it (twice!) I know a little more what to expect, and my expectations are a little lower. (I’m writing a genre that has fewer affiliated agents and guests, unfortunately, so I am not sure Ms. Fury will have a definite interest in my novel, but she has such a great reputation with her clients that I hope to get a lot out of our talk.)
Maybe it’s just because we’re still a few days out, but I’m feeling a little more zen about the conference. Perhaps it’s just the “calm before the storm.”
If you haven’t yet attended a writer’s conference in your area, I recommend it. It makes you feel so much more “official” and you’ll learn a lot. It can also be a humbling experience; you’re definitely not the only person with a great idea looking to get some attention.
If you have, what is your best advice?