In my last blog, I talked about the financial costs of conferences, which may lead to a follow up question:
How the heck do we find conferences in the first place??
First, you need to figure out what you're looking for out of conferences.
*Finding new places to submit to?
I've found that there are conferences that are specific to what genre you're writing in, so that's kind of a jumping point. My sister is the one who got me into AWP. Before that, I didn't even know about writing conferences.
|Some conferences actually give you time slots to meet with agents. This one was PNWA.|
~I found out about PNWA through Vickie Motter's blog. For those of you not familiar with her, she's an agent who is on twitter and keeps an advice/review blog. On her blog, she posts the conferences she'll be attending which is helpful to writers like me who hope to meet her, and pitch to her.
~I found out about LeakyCon's Lit Day from Jennifer Laughran's blog.
Moral of the story is: find the agents you're interested in. Follow them; their blogs, their twitter accounts. They will usually say something about upcoming conferences, or some, like Ms. Motter, will have where she'll be for the next year. It's an easy way to find out about conferences you wouldn't have otherwise known about. (From there you can decide which ones are feasible, and which ones are out of the question.)
The coolest thing about conferences is that writing is infectious. Literally, I'll be sitting in a panel and have a million new thoughts to write about. The backs of my notebooks are FILLED with random stuff to start; poems, stories, ways to edit existing stuff. And then when there's a break, hit the bookshop to find other authors and literary magazines. It's a great place to talk to editors, authors, etc.
|Kinda blurry, sorry. This is Kerry Cohen speaking. She's amazing.|
Beyond that, TALK TO EVERYONE. Literally, every chance you get, introduce yourself. Sit next to people. Become the social butterfly you've always wanted to be. You don't know who you'll bump into. Seriously, from one of my conferences, I met a woman who offered to house me for a night because I'd been driving an hour each morning to the conference, and an hour each evening. She and I will be roommates at this year's AWP. At the same conference, I also met another person who housed me in Florida during Lit Day.
So, make a good impression and if you're serious about the game:
HAVE YOUR PITCH READY.
Everyone will ask, "What's your novel about."
Make sure you have an answer.