How to Prepare for a Writers Conference

It’s that time of the year again to talk about how to prepare for a writers conference . The Greater Philadelphia conference is coming up in August and the ACFW conference is in September. Let’s talk about how we can prepare ourselves for days of workshops, appointments, little sleep and lots of fun. I’ll get us started.

My top three tips for preparing for a writers conference

1) Get lots of rest before the conference. Most writers conferences are nonstop busy, so if you go in well rested, you’ll be more alert and ready for anything.
2) Study the websites of the people you’d like to meet with, whether they are agents, editors or authors. You want to take interest in who you’re meeting with. That goes a long way. You might not get picked up, but you might make a friend.
3) Get your one sheets and business cards together and as professional as you can.

Your turn – what other tips can you give us to help us prepare? We can all use a good tip, even if we’re seasoned writers conference conference attenders.

Today’s question comes from Pam Halter, Children’s Writing Panelist.
Pam Halter headshotPam Halter is a children’s author/editor and former homeschooling mom. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and two cats. When Pam is not writing, she enjoys quilting, reading, cooking and gardening. Pam is on the staff and faculty for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. Read more about her on her website. Connect with her on Facebook.


  1. 1) Check out the websites, as already stated, and make a list of the manuscripts/proposals you have ready and who you would like to pitch them to.
    2)Take 9×12 envelopes with you (for those who want mss. sent email) or a laptop for those publishers who say they want to see the entire manuscript. Send them out from the conference. (If you’re sending snail mail, be sure to mark “requested manuscript” and name of conference on the envelope.)
    3) If you’re waiting until you get home to send requested manuscripts, keep an accurate list of who wants what.
    4) Send thank-you notes for the appointments.

  2. 1. I will reinforce the comment to bring one-sheets, containing same info. as query letters.
    2. Have business cards made with your picture on them. I use
    3. Study the brochure and/or website to see which editors you want to meet with. Then study their websites to see if your book fits their house.

    I’m currently at a conference that preceds iCRS.

  3. 1. Meet at least five new people each day.
    2. If you take someone’s business card write on the back how you met
    3. Take a book to capture names and emails, ask if you can add to your mailing list
    4. Meet your favorite authors
    5. Sit at a different table each day
    6. Write down the classes you want to attend the night before
    7. Take good notes and maybe blog about the conference when you come back
    8. See if any your online friends are attending and plan to meet up, so you have a face for the name.
    9. Make time to see the city you’re visiting.
    10. Have fun

  4. I agree with all of the above. Also bring clothes that allow for changes in the weather or air conditioning in buildings and wear comfortable shoes. Take notes in workshops and remember you’re not only there to sell your writing but to improve your skills as well. Be prepared to make new friends and exchange contact information, not only with agents and editors.

  5. 1. Check in advance for scholarships/grants to off-set the cost. (HIghlights Foundation gives scholarships to its annual conference Organizations such as SCBWI also offer grants.) Connect w/people who are going and find a roommate to split hotel costs. Offer to volunteer and see if you can get a discount for your services.

    2. Only pitch polished fiction. (NF can be sold on a proposal.)

    3. read books by speakers before attending, then you can talk intelligently about their favorite subject

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