By Julie Kazimer
It’s my favorite time of the year. As the leaves start to fall, hundreds of fellow writers descend on the Colorado Gold Conference. In case you’re not signed up, you still have time. The conference starts on September 20 – 22nd. Learn more and register at http://www.rmfw.org/conference.
If you’re already registered, I look forward to seeing you there. I attended my first conference in 2007. I can’t believe how naïve I was about writing and publishing at the time. I honestly believed I’d be a bestselling author by Christmas that year. Yeah, I was a wee bit deluded.
The delusion continued, and now I find myself about to attend my 7th Colorado Gold Conference. I still get that swell of excitement and anticipation as the conference draws near. Thankfully I’ve learned a lot since my first conference. Now I will pass my vast (yeah, right) amount of conference knowledge on to you.
1) Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Friday is usually more casual. Saturday night there’s a banquet in which some dress to kill while others wear jeans. Make sure to say hi to Marc Graham, he’s the guy in a kilt.
2) Network like mad. Too often writer make the mistake of thinking their pitch or talking to an agent or editor about their book is the most important aspect of conference going. It isn’t. The odds of getting an agent or selling your book during a pitch are low, very low. On the other hand, the odds of meeting someone at the conference, whether an agent, an editor, or a fellow writer on the same journey, who will eventually affect your writing career is all but assured.
3) Pitch a finished manuscript. And only a finished manuscript. If you don’t have the book done, then wait, and query the agent and/or editor when it is finished.
4) Meet Patricia Stoltey one of the RMWF Blog Editors. She is an amazing woman.
5) Have a 30 word or less elevator pitch ready and memorized to spout at will to anyone who asks. And they will ask.
6) Attend workshops. It’s amazing what you can learn from your fellow writers.
7) Ask Writer of the Year, Linda Joffe Hull, about her journey to publication. It’s a good one.
8) Take a risk. Do something out of your comfort zone. I’m not suggesting you dance on the bar, but why not head up to the hospitality suite for a before bed nightcap. Or take a workshop outside your genre. Join a group of writers bashing the latest bestseller even if you haven’t read the book. Hang out. Soak it in.
9) Join RMFW if you aren’t already a member. It’s worth every penny.
10) Say hi! I can’t wait to meet you.
11) Have FUN! The Gold Conference is unlike any other. Enjoy it.
1) Look up Marc’s kilt.
2) Be shy. Here’s an icebreaker for the shy writer. Walk up to anyone and say: “What do you write?” This is an instant conversation starter and even better, helps you to focus on your own 30 words or less description of your book.
3) Throw up on the agent/editor you are pitching. As hard as this is to believe, pitches are not the end all be all. So don’t be nervous. Your entire career isn’t on the line…
4) Hide in your hotel room. Oh, I know you…well, I know me. My name is Julie, and I’m an introvert. It’s not a sin. I just need more time by myself to recharge, especially when faced with hundreds of fellow writers. It’s tempting for introverts to stay tucked away in our hotel rooms, but don’t do it. You’ll be amazed by how much you can learn and grow in 48 hours. Be present.
5) Eat alone. If you’re planning to eat lunch at the hotel restaurant, when you’re standing in line, look for others who appear alone or in a small group and join them for lunch. You’ll be amazed by who you can meet.
6) Put too much pressure on yourself. This weekend is about learning your craft, enjoying fellow writers, and gathering energy to keep on writing.
7) One more thing, try not to laugh at Mario Acevedo’s Hawaiian shirt.
Anyone have other advice for conference season? Is there anything you are looking forward to doing or workshop you plan on attending?
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE as well as the forthcoming romance, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.
Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.