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How to prepare ahead of time for a conference

August 20, 2012

The Florida Writers Conference is two months from today. October 20 is the middle day of the conference, which starts early with the sessions writing from a prompt, and ends with the Royal Palm Literary Awards banquet.

It’s far too early to start packing for the conference, and it’s too late to start a new novel to pitch to the agents, editors, and publishers. But it’s just the right time to start planning your conference experience.

If you attend your local FWA group’s monthly meeting, you’ve got one or two meetings left before the conference. This might be a good time to talk to your fellow members to see who else is going, and maybe arrange a car pool or try to share a room.

It’s a great time to find people who are writing the same thing you’re writing and start talking to them. If you’re an FWA member, there are discussion groups for most genres on the FWA Network, where you can start conversations with other attendees in your genre. That way, when you have breakfast at your genre’s table, you’ll already know a few people, if only online.

Check out the Florida Writers Association and Florida Writers Conference pages on Facebook. There you may be able to find other people going to the conference.

If you’re pitching a manuscript and it’s been sitting in a dusty corner of your computer for a few weeks, now would be a great time to take another look to work through any edits that are required. If necessary, you could also find someone to edit your work to make it the best it can be.

As a rule of thumb if you want to pitch to an agent, you must have a completed manuscript for non-fiction, and a completed book proposal, for non-fiction. If you’re pitching a manuscript, now might be a great time to start thinking about and practicing your pitch. Here’s a great primer from the DFW Writer’s Conference with dos, don’ts, and references.

Have a great conference!

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