What Do I Bring to a Conference?

It’s hard to believe that Realm Makers 2017 is just a couple of weeks away! Everyone involved with the planning is pulling all the details together to make this the best year yet. And many of us attendees are scrambling with last-minute preparations. One of those preparations begs the question, “What do I bring to a conference?”

So, we’ve put together a list of some of the important items to bring and things to consider when packing!

 

Attire

In the past years, we’ve had a wide variety of dress–from jeans and geek T-shirts to business wear. Above all, we want people to be comfortable. We do suggest that if you are scheduled to pitch to an agent or editor that you wear something closer to the business side as you want to be seen as a professional who is serious about their writing.

Business Cards

Yes, bring them!

Give them to stranger, give them to a friend,

Give them at the beginning and at the end.

Give them here, give them there,

Give them everywhere!

(And that is Ralene’s last attempt at Dr. Suess for the day.)

 

One Sheets/First Chapters

If you’re planning to pitch to an agent/editor at the conference, be sure to bring a one sheet and the first chapter of your COMPLETED manuscript. These tools help give the agent/editor a quick peek at the story overall and your writing skill.

In the past, I’ve brought one sheets and first chapters even if I wasn’t planning to pitch. Opportunities sometimes present themselves in spite of our expectations, so it doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

Here are a couple of links to one sheet explanations:

What is a One-Sheet?

How to Create a Compelling One Sheet

 

Something to Take Notes With

Whether your a pen and paper person or more in touch with the digital side, you’ll need something to record all this wisdom for our award-winning faculty!

 

Extra Space in Your Luggage 

You never really know how much books, swag, and other geek fun you’ll be taking home with you.

 

An “Extroverted” Attitude

It seems that most writers tend to be introverted, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m an introvert as well. Conferences are fun, but all the people can be a bit overwhelming and totally draining. However, they are also a time for networking and learning. So, don’t hide in your shell! Raise that chin up, put on a genuine smile, and get out and meet some new people. Make new connections! We can collapse for a week when we get back home.

 

Costume

This suggestion is tailored only to Realm Makers as we have an awards banquet that encourages costumes. It is not required, but it is always fun! We’ve had costumes from across the genres, from famous characters to characters from a writer’s unpublished story, from homemade to store-bought to customized, from elaborate to simple … and everything in between.

If you’re not planning to dress up (it is not required), something nice is still expected.

 

NERF Gun and/or Games

On the last night, after everything else is over, we typically have some sort of game night. A lot of people participate in the epic NERF gun war, while others gather together for geeky board games, while still others sit around and chat. It’s a great way to close the conference with fun and fellowship.

 

Books

If you have a book or 2 at home that you would like to get signed by an author you know is attending or officially at the author book signing on Saturday night, don’t forget to pack the books. Of course, a lot of authors will have books available in the bookstore as well!

 

That’s a quick list of things not to forget!

 

What else do you think needs to be on this list?

4 Comments

  • Pam Halter / July 12, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Comfortable shoes, Tylenol or other pain reliever for headaches, breath mints, lots of rest beforehand, and be well hydrated. I also bring my Advil PM and Holy Basil, which help me rest when away from home. Of course, that also helps me rest AT home. Ha!

    Also, have a teachable spirit. There’s always something to learn! And be flexible. You might reeeeeally want to attend a certain workshop or meet with a certain editor, but it doesn’t work out. There’s a reason. Take a breath and trust God. I know – easier said than done – but after 20 years of attending writers conferences, I’ve seen amazing things come out of a cancelled class or an editor’s full schedule.

    Reply
  • Kristen Stieffel / July 12, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    A sweater! OK, you knew I was going to say that. But seriously, hotel conference rooms can get COLD. So bring a sweater or hoodie or blazer so you don’t freeze.

    Reply
  • Jebraun Clifford / July 12, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    A light cardigan for sure. Granola bars or packets of almonds for snacking. A roomy tote bag to carry all your swag. A small accordin folder or something to keep all your one sheets and chapters in the proper place and protect them so all you have to do is whip them out when needed.

    Reply
  • Jebraun Clifford / July 12, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    A light cardigan for sure. Granola bars or packets of almonds for snacking. A roomy tote bag to carry all your swag. A small accordion folder or something to keep all your one sheets and chapters in the proper place and protect them so all you have to do is whip them out when needed.

    Reply

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