Are you ready for your interview at the ACFW Conference? Do you have your query letter, submission packet, a quick and coherent description of your book and why you think it’ll fit with the folks you’re pitching to? Do you have your elevator pitch down pat? Do you have a pitch partner who calls you at odd hours and orders, “Spit it out!” to catch you off guard, just like running into your favorite agent or editor would.
I imagine you do–if you’ve finished your novel, pitching it may be the primary reason you’re going to the conference. If you aren’t prepared, get a move on–times a’wastin’!
But even if you’re not pitching, you should have a business card to hand to anyone you want to connect with. Name and contact info are the very least you should put on the card. Identify yourself as an author–or if you’re an editor attending the conference to find clients, identify your editing business. A picture of yourself is always nice, but not necessary. Your brand, if you have one, or the genre you write in. It’s not too late to design and order these. I’m sure folks have their preferred on-line store they order from, but I’m fond of Vistaprint.
Do you have a new release? Or a soon-to-be released? How about something to promote it while you’re at the conference? A postcard, a bookmark, or maybe a pen. Or maybe there’s something else you can create, something that’s inexpensive yet will still remind the recipients of you and your book.
Last year, there were over 600 in attendance in Indianapolis. That isn’t just 600 writers, although that alone is worthwhile because it’s 600 potential friends to turn to when you need them. But it’s also 600 potential readers, 600 potential promotion helpers, and 600 connections to even more potential readers and promotion helpers. It’s a huge group of people you can choose mentors from or you can be a mentor to. It’s an opportunity to receive or pay forward or pay back. It isn’t a time for shyness. If you’ve spent the money to get there and stay there (Hyatt ain’t cheap!), then make the absolute most of every minute you are there.
The best part, to me, of the conference is memory building and friendship developing. Cyberspace is wonderful and cyberpals are invaluable, but when space is diminished to a hug away and cyberpals take on flesh . . . there’s nothing better. Moments to treasure. So, yeah, take advantage of the opportunity to get your name out there. Be creative, be prepared. But also expect to be blessed beyond imagining.
Which reminds me. I need to take a huge stock of tissues and my waterproof mascara. Anyone who cries as easily as I do shouldn’t be caught without them.