Writer's Digest, RWA, RT, ACFW, Moonlight & Magnolias...
There is no shortage of conferences for writers looking to study their craft, network with industry professionals, and find inspiration amongst fellow storytellers. In fact, I'm getting ready to head off to one myself - The Romantic Times (RT) Book Convention from May 2 - 7 in Atlanta, GA. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited.
And just a little crazy.
See, conferences are a little different for readers than they are for writers. As a reader, I get to pack some cute clothes and go enjoy workshops while meeting my favorite authors, collecting amazing books and swag at my leisure. However, things are a little different when I attend as an author. Now I'm the one responsible for making sure that all those nifty little gifts, swag, and books are in order for my readers. It's the writers who put together the workshops and present them, create and host themed parties, and basically make sure everything is on target for ensuring that readers have a great time.
Oh, don't get me wrong! We writers have a great time, too. Many of us (especially first timers) get just as much benefit as everyone else from the workshops. We dance and eat our fill at the parties, too. Plus, there's the best part of all - meeting our readers! Still, at the end of the day it would be irresponsible of me to not inform newbies that a lot of planning goes into making your conference experience great for both you and your readers.
So, be prepared! Make sure you've got all the little goodies like pens and bookmarks, buttons, and free copies of your books. Bring plenty of business cards. WEAR FLATS (or at least bring a pair you can change into when your footsies get tired of trying to look fashionable). But above all else, PACE YOURSELF. Stay hydrated and eat regularly. And remember that the best part of going to a reader/writer conference for authors is getting the chance to meet your readers (although, yes, the free drinks are pretty cool too. :P). Seriously, though. Keep in mind the small, sometimes simple things (like staying hydrated - it can't be stressed enough), and leaving the crazy at home. That way you can play it cool at conference.