I returned from a fabulous weekend at Malice Domestic. I had so much fun networking, seeing friends, meeting readers, and being a fan girl. (I got to meet Anne Hillerman and Chris Grabenstein this year.)
Here are some things I’ve learned to help navigate these events — whether your a writer or a fan.
You are going to do a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes.
Dress in layers. Conference rooms are notorious for being frigid.
Make sure you have a bag for things you’ll need: bookmarks, business cards, promo materials, a notebook, and something to write (or sign books) with.
Have your elevator speech (1-2 sentences) ready about your book in case you’re asked.
Print a copy of all your registration confirmations and take them with you to make sure there’s no confusion.
Keep all of your receipts for meals/expenses for your taxes.
Read the conference agenda and plan what you want to attend. Some provide “conference at a glance” booklets to help you navigate, and others have an app for your phone.
Bring an extra bag or leave room in your suitcase for all the swag and books that you’ll collect. I went to the Kensington Books give-away and signing. They were so generous. My TBR stack tripled.
Many conferences have shipping centers, so you can send it all home if you need to.
Be professional always! You never know who is sitting next to you.
Check out the conference’s website for past pictures to get an idea of the dress code for the events. Some are casual, and some dinners are black tie.
Don’t start every conversation about your book. Be genuine. Be part of conversations. They’ll be plenty of time to talk about your book.