1. Take a notebook to scribble all those words of wisdom.
2. Programs are generally posted online ahead of time. Look it over to decide in advance what fits your needs.
3. Swag – It won’t hurt to take business cards, postcards, bookmarks and a few of your books to showcase. Some conferences like Killer Nashville have several opportunities for authors to get some needed exposure.
4. Panels – Killer Nashville has asked me to be on a panel for new authors. I jumped at the chance even though I’ve never done this kind of presentation. Don’t be shy to be on the stage.
5. Don’t miss a moment. Don’t sleep in. Don’t party too much. You’re there to learn and become a better writer.
6. If you travel a long distance find out ahead of time the opportunities to get to know the local community.
7. Don’t forget other fees; food, books, gas and valet parking! It all adds up.
8. Relax. Be observant of those around you and seek out new friends that are like minded about your genre.
9. Author Pitches: Most writing conferences offer these. It’s a great way to get your face and work in front of an editor or agent.
10. Head Shots: Ozark Romance Authors offer a chance to get your picture taken by a professional photographer for a reasonable price at their conference.
11. Meet the Author: I got to meet one of my favorite authors, Steve Berry several years ago at the Oklahoma Writer’s Conference. He stopped several times to say “hello” and even offered to sign his book I kept carrying around like the Holy Grail. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from the best.
12. Take advantages of chat sessions with authors, agents and editors. It’s a great time to pick their brain on a particular area you need to address. This is not a time to hesitate. You’ve paid for this conference.
13. Guest Speaker: Usually published authors of various degrees of distinction are the keynote speaker. Try to read some of their work to understand where they are coming from.