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How to Make a Writing Conference Work for You 

By Kathleen

Have you ever considered how to make a writer’s conference work for you? Yes. Any writing conference you attend, you can put to work for you. What do I mean by work? I mean taking advantage of all the benefits the conference has to offer. That can include a plethora of items.

For example, have you pitched an idea to teach a workshop? Teaching is a great way to not only learn more about your subject to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest information, trends or craft skills, but it’s a great way to gain publicity. Everyone who views the conference website will see your face and name. Everyone who attends your workshop, will learn more about you, and often having that “face-to-face” time will intrigue a fellow attendee to snag your book or check out your website. I’ve met the nicest people by both teaching and attending workshops.

How does attending a workshop benefit you? In addition to the intake of information learned, you get to network with fellow attendees as well as with the workshop leader. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit it off with a fellow workshop attendee or with the presenting author and years later, we’re still in touch. Forming these natural and authentic network connections makes the publishing world a much smaller place.

I’ll give you a real world example. I attended a conference last fall and the most lovely woman from Scotland of all places (I dream of visiting Scotland) approached me to let me know how much she enjoys my books. She made my day. We started chatting throughout the conference and since then, she’s hosted me on her podcast which led to me being on faculty at two conferences and as keynote at another. It also led to her being interviewed on a podcast I co-host, which will hopefully lead to even more opportunities for this lovely lady and gifted speaker. All from a natural, genuine connection.

Another area to consider when attending a conference is whether there are advertising and sponsorship opportunities. Nearly every conference offers advertising in one form or another. Get your book cover in front of attendees for a reasonable cost whether it’s a virtual conference or in person. It benefits the conference and gives you wonderful publicity. And speaking of benefit the conference and yourself–always look for sponsorship opportunities. These are a win-win. It helps build up the conference so they can put on the best one possible while granting you the perks that come with sponsorship. It may result in your name on the sponsorship page or your logo. It might mean your book cover in the conference program. Each sponsorship and each level therein are different, but all sponsorship opportunities are mutually beneficial.

So, if you’re planning to attend a conference, be sure to apply to teach, get to know the other attendees if the opportunity presents itself, check into advertising and sponsorship opportunities, and last but not least, take time to let an author know how much you enjoy their books. It will make their day and maybe turn into a lasting friendship with endless possibilities.

Who’s getting excited about the virtual conference BookMARCon? I’m blown away by the talented speakers and the breadth of workshops. I’ll be teaching Beyond the Page: How In-Person Events Drive Book Sales – A Workshop on the Power of Book Signings and Author Appearances. Check out the full schedule if you haven’t had a chance yet!


Article by Dani Pettrey

Publishers Weekly and #1 Amazon bestselling author, Dani Pettrey has sold nearly 800,000 copies of her novels to readers eagerly awaiting the next release. Dani combines the page-turning adrenaline of a thriller with the chemistry and happy-ever-after of a romance.

Her novels stand out for their “wicked pace, snappy dialogue, and likable characters” (Publishers Weekly), “gripping storyline[s],” (RT Book Reviews), and “sizzling undercurrent of romance” (USA Today). She researches murder and mayhem from her home in Maryland. For more information visit: www.danipettrey.com

Dani Pettrey is a sponsor of BookMARCon powered by Book Brush.

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