It’s conference season, at least that’s how it seems. Between March and August there are quite a few writing conferences that are taking place, so now seemed liked a great time to offer a few helpful tips to make all your conferences fun and successful.
- Have business cards at the ready. They don’t need to be elaborate, just something simple with your name and contact information on it. You can make them yourself or get them printed inexpensively at places like GotPrint.com or VistaPrint.com.
- Dress professionally and comfortably. Consider wearing layers. There is no happy medium when it comes to temperature at many of these conference sites. The best thing you can do is to have layers so that you’ll always be able to make yourself comfortable.
- Don’t be afraid to mingle and make connections, but be sure to pay attention to social cues. You don’t want to accidentally cut in on an important discussion.
- Even if you aren’t taking an editor/agent appointment have a pitch for your current work in progress ready to go. You never know whom you’ll wind up chatting with and what can come from that interaction. Remember editors and agents are people too. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.
- Be mindful of your alcohol consumption.
- Most importantly, enjoy yourself and let your creative juices be replenished by interacting with other writers.
Navigating your way around the conference is only part of the adventure. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe en route to the conference and while staying in the event hotel.
- If possible travel with at least one travel companion.
- Never tell anyone that you are traveling alone. If someone persistently asks, don’t hesitate to lie.
- If attending a conference do not wear your name badge when you leave the event hotel.
- Wear minimal jewelry. Lots of expensive and flashy jewelry makes you an easier target for predators. Also, consider using disposable cameras instead of bringing your digital camera. Expensive cameras are popular targets for thieves.
- Never open up your door to any stranger and use all the locks on the door while in room.
- Don’t open the door just because someone says security or maintenance. Get the employee’s name and call the front desk to confirm before opening the door.
- Avoid giving out your room number to anyone you meet in the bar or the trip.
- Avoid leaving jewelry or credit cards in the room. Thieved don’t need the actual card, just the number and security code.
- Lock your baggage if possible. (Airline locks are fine)
- Avoid the scam this is the front desk calling please update your credit card information.
- Never leave the plastic keys when you checkout. They can contain personal information.
- If possible request a room closest to the elevators, more foot traffic, less secluded, more opportunity for crook to be seen
- Try to avoid a room above the 10th floor; fire equipment usually does not reach that high.
- Avoid going out alone at night and as always TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!
If you’ll be at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference in March I look forward to seeing you there. Whatever conferences you may be attending stay safe and have a great time.