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Three Keys to Your Conference Preparation

December 10, 2013

By W. Terry Whalin

TerryIn January, I’m traveling to the Florida Writers Association Mid-Winter Conference West and Reading Festival and I look forward to it. I’ve been revising and updating my workshop on book proposal creation, Editors Read Proposals Not Manuscripts. I’ve been sorting through my 20+ years in publishing and preparing which stories to tell during my class.

I love writers’ conferences. It’s a grand idea haven to talk shop and learn from other writers. If you want to succeed in the writing business, I’ve got four keys to enhance your conference experience:

1.      The first way is to come prepared to meet others and start new relationships. As a part of your preparation, create some business cards and be prepared to give them out to everyone you meet—but don’t make it a one way exchange. When you give a business card, make sure you receive a business card. Double check your business card to see if it contains your complete information: name, mailing address, phone number and email address.  It’s surprising how many participants do not create a simple business card—even if you buy blank cards at an office supply place and print your own. Bring plenty of copies of your business card. It is frustrating to the other person when someone says they only brought a few cards and have given them out. Writing is a solitary occupation and we need each other. You will form new and lasting friendships at the conference if you come prepared for it.

2.   The second key for your conference experience is to study the background for the various faculty members and get familiar with their different roles. Publishing is constantly changing. You want to know who you are meeting and their role. For example, I changed roles two years ago and became an acquisitions editor at a New York based publisher. Your familiarity with the different faculty will help you form deeper relationships during the conference. I believe your time in preparation will be rewarded.

3.      The final key for your conference experience is to come with the right heart attitude. Many writers come to their first conference expecting to sell their book manuscript or magazine article. Yes, there will be some selling during the conference. A much more central part of every writer’s conference is where individuals learn new aspects of publishing and take great strides of personal growth. Come with expectations and a willingness to learn and grow. With the right heart attitude, I’m convinced that you will not be disappointed but your expectations will actually be exceeded.

Today make time to get prepared for the people you will be meeting during the time we are together. I will be coming with high expectations and anticipations. I’ve not ever been disappointed in the past.

See you soon at the conference!


W. Terry Whalin understands both sides of the editorial desk–as an editor and a writer. He worked as a magazine editor and his magazine work has appeared in more than 50 publications and he’s written more than 60 books for traditional publishers. A book acquisitions editor for several publishers and a former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. Whether you are unsure how to start on the path to publication or want to take your publishing career to the next level, Terry’s newest book, JUMPSTART YOUR PUBLISHING DREAMS, INSIDER SECRETS TO SKYROCKET YOUR SUCCESS is packed with insight. Also Terry is the author of the bestselling book, BOOK PROPOSALS THAT SELL, 21 SECRETS TO SPEED YOUR SUCCESS. Plus he’s launched a 12 lesson online course on proposal creation, Write A Book Proposal.


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