Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Preparation: What I Needed, What I Didn't

I spent a long time prepping for this conference. After all that trouble I went through to get there, I was going to get my money’s worth. Here’s what I absolutely couldn’t have done without:
1.       One line pitch, one paragraph pitch, query pitch. Having what I call a “twitter pitch” felt like being a cowboy with a gun in my belt; I could whip it out whenever I wanted. If the person I was talking to was still interested, I gave them a paragraph I practiced, and if they were interested even further, I more or less recited my query letter.
2.      Business cards. Everyone had business cards, and they handed them out like candy. Now I keep in contact with almost everyone I met.
3.      Flash cards. I can’t begin to tell you how helpful it was to memorize the authors’ names and books before I went (well, more like half of them). Since we had name tags, it was easy to approach published authors and strike up a conversation. It also enriched my experience because I was excited about the books and meeting the authors.
4.      Reading the books. I figured it would be good to read as many books as I could on the off-chance I’d get to meet the author. Out of the ten authors I read, I met eight. Totally worth it. I wish I read more!
Things I didn’t need:
1.       Query letter. When you pitch to an agent, you’re basically telling them what’s in your query letter. If you do your job, they shouldn’t have to read it. No one asked for mine.
2.      My first chapters. I offered to give Jennifer Weltz my first few chapters, and she said not only would she be afraid of losing them, but she didn’t want to drag a pile of papers through the airport. Agents want you to email them instead.
3.      The books I read. I would definitely bring my books to get signed if I had it to do over again. But I didn’t have to. In my mind, a copy of a book is a ticket to talk one-on-one with the author. Since I had the chance to meet so many authors, I didn’t need the ticket. You usually can’t talk long at a book signing anyway because people are in line waiting for you to leave.

There was only one thing I needed that I didn’t bring: a bigger bag.


  1. Sounds like you had a great and productive time! I reeeeeeeaaally need to get myself to a conference sometime!

  2. It sounds amazing and will be looking into going to a conference of my own!


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