I love writing and book conferences. These are good ways for authors to network with readers, writers, fans, bloggers, and others in the publishing industry. I learn so much at each one. Here are some hints that I've picked up along the way that can help you navigate events and networking.
- Wear comfortable shoes. My Fitbit always gets a workout.
- Keep emails about events (with the contact information) that you're scheduled to attend. I always keep a folder with emails and receipts. It makes it easier if you have to remember a name or a time.
- Plan out your day of panels, workshops, and activities. Know where the rooms are. I went to one conference where the events were in two different hotels.
- Wear layered clothes. Conference centers are often too hot or too cold.
- You're going to get a lot of books and swag. Make sure you have room to get it all back home. Many conferences have mailing centers to ship items.
- Carry bookmarks and business cards with you. You'll network everywhere, and it's a good idea to have items to share.
- When you do panels, workshops, or signings, bring a copy of your latest book. It creates a visual for the audience. I bought some portable book stands, and they work great to showcase the latest novel.
- Have your supplies handy (e.g. bookmarks, give-aways, business cards, pens, etc.) I have an emergency box with extra pens, scissors, and tape.
- Take lots of pictures for social media posts. I learned years ago from a social media guru to post regularly during conferences. Use the event hashtags and tag people that you network with.
- Bring a notebook or paper. Even if I'm on a panel, someone says something that I want to jot down. These events are a great exchange of ideas.
- If you're doing an event, make sure you have give-aways. Candy is always good (especially chocolate)! Many conferences have hospitality rooms where authors can leave bookmarks or postcards.
These are photos of my adventures at Malice Domestic 2017.
L-R: Rick Ollerman, Robert Downs, Elena Hartwell, Mary Ellis, and Me