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Guest Bloggers: A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder
Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Check the comments of yesterday’s post for the winner of the free download!
Oh! And remember The Texas Two-Step Grab Bag contest ends Tuesday! ~DD

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Why Attend a Conference?

Rachel and I are attending Spring Fling, the conference of the Chicago North chapter of Romance Writers of America.  A large regional conference, it focuses on workshops and activities for aspiring and published authors, as well as a reader event that includes a book-signing.

Having just gone to the RT Booklovers Convention earlier this month, I am beginning to “get the hang” of how I like to “do” conferences.  I figured I’d pass along some tips that work for me and Rachel:

1.  Plan ahead.  Look up the schedule on the Internet before you go, so you know what you want to attend and where, if any, slack exists so you can relax.

2.  Come early to get the lay of the land, check in, and get your “swags.”  Most conferences give various freebees, from books to pens, mirrors, and even candy in naughty shapes.

3.  Many people use conferences as networking tools, so pay attention to the lounge and lobby areas.  Editors and authors like to just hang out, rather than attend every workshop; impromptu discussions can take place.  You never know who you might meet.

4.  Don’t be afraid to have some fun.  Most conferences offer parties of various kinds, from relatively mild receptions to full-blown extravaganzas with costumes, models, and stage productions.  It’s not all serious, so lighten up and let your inner child play.

5.  Bring business cards.  Collect business cards.  Even if your cards are simply your name and email, you have the opportunity to make connections and put a face to your branding.  Folks are more apt to connect with a real person, which is invaluable as you’re starting out.

6.  Take care of your appearance.  You might want to dress up in order to give a good first impression.  While jeans and a t-shirt are comfortable, you are representing you and your brand.  Dress the part.

7.  Remember to drink plenty of water and bring snacks.  There’s no reason not to spend money at the hotel or convention center if you’ve budgeted for it, but why pay seven dollars for a bottle of water when you can bring it with you?  Plus, you might not want to leave a workshop just because you get the nibbles.

8.  Bring something to take notes with.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  People love to talk about their craft.  The more you ask, the more you’ll learn.

9.  If you see an author you like, go up and talk with them.  They’re here to connect with the fans.  Take advantage of that and be a fan.  Just don’t bother them if they’re trying to have a quiet meal or already in conversation with someone.

10.  Be a sponge.  Keep your eyes open.  You never know when you might see the next idea for your novel, idea for a cool promotional concept, or a new friend.  Let the world around you stimulate you.  After all, that’s what you paid for.

A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder
Blog Website
Check out BURNING BRIGHT, available now from Samhain Publishing.
Watch for EMERALD FIRE, coming soon from Torquere Publishing.

12 comments to “Guest Bloggers: A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder”

  1. Krystal Shannan
    · April 29th, 2012 at 8:48 am · Link

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kimh
    · April 29th, 2012 at 2:11 pm · Link

    Soundsfun Ty

  3. Virginia E
    · April 29th, 2012 at 5:36 pm · Link

    The other big thing is be friendly and polite. It certainly doesn’t hurt to be recognized or remembered for a smile or kind gesture. Unfortunately, letting a bad moment show can create a negative first impression that’s hard to shake.

  4. Melissa P
    · April 29th, 2012 at 5:37 pm · Link


  5. Maggie Blackbird
    · April 29th, 2012 at 8:43 pm · Link

    Sorry, the internet ate my comment LOL. Thanks for posting the tips. Very helpful.

  6. Lynda Frazier
    · April 29th, 2012 at 10:57 pm · Link

    I’ve never attended one, but would like to this year and your suggestions are good ones I’m going to remember.

  7. Mary Preston
    · April 30th, 2012 at 3:00 am · Link

    I’d love to attend a conference. I know I would behave badly though & want to hug all my favorite authors.

  8. A. Catherine Noon
    · April 30th, 2012 at 12:54 pm · Link

    First, let me say a huge thank you to Delilah for giving us space for a guest post. We are very grateful!

    Krystal and Kim, thanks for commenting! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Virginia, I couldn’t agree more. Being on one’s best behavior is never a bad call when in public, particularly when you’re representing yourself as a “brand.” Particularly in today’s day and age, with the prevalence of social media and the necessity for authors to promote themselves, we must be aware that we are on stage at all times. It doesn’t take much to leave a bad impression; but it also isn’t hard to make a good one – just remember to smile and be polite.

    Thanks, Melissa!

    Maggie, I’m sorry your post got eaten – thanks for coming back and leaving another one! Very appreciated.

    Lynda, try a small or regional conference in your area. Depending on what you like to read, there are groups around where you can meet other readers or authors that you have things in common with. Your local RWA Chapter (Romance Writers of America) is a good place, as are local science fiction fan conventions. I hope you decide to give it a try.

    Mary, as long as you ask first, I think hugs are awesome! (I’m a huge hugger too, so I can relate.) So if nothing else, next time you see me at a conference, we can hug each other! (Then everyone will want to know who we are and why we’re so awesome!)

    ~grin~ Happy Monday to everyone and thanks again to Delilah for hosting us!

  9. Shadow
    · May 1st, 2012 at 1:34 am · Link

    Great tips! Thanks!! 🙂

  10. A. Catherine Noon
    · May 1st, 2012 at 7:49 am · Link

    I’m glad you liked them, Shadow! 🙂

  11. Darla M Sands
    · May 5th, 2012 at 6:55 am · Link

    Thank you for sharing!

  12. A. Catherine Noon
    · May 6th, 2012 at 9:51 am · Link

    You’re very welcome, Darla! Thanks for stopping by!

Comments are closed.