Putting your best foot forward at Conferences & Conventions
Whether you’re attending a convention as a bystander or as a participating author, it’s really important that you put a good foot forward and make strong, positive first impressions. You never know who might be an agent, editor, or potential fan, and your behavior at a convention can really impact how people perceive you.
People who are nice and polite will be noticed. People who are arrogant, aggressive, and display the classic symptoms of a stalker are also noticed. These aggressive individuals have their names spread around, usually as a warning for others. There are a few things that you can do to avoid being one of those people at a convention.
Dress to Impress
Business casual is the way to go when you’re attending a convention where you’re expecting to mingle with publishing professionals. It won’t hurt you if you dress in full business attire, either, depending on the convention. You’ll fit right in with business at World Fantasy Con, although you won’t fit in as much at Gen Con, just as an example.
Either way, dress your best. Wear clean clothes, brush your teeth, style your hair, and bring deodorant with you. Refresh the deodorant partway through the day. The little things matter, and the first thing a potential fan or publishing professional sees is your professional appearance.
Watch Your Behavior
You’re going to be in a room full of anxious people just like you. Watch your behavior. If you’re nervous, try to calm yourself down. There’s definitely room for some error here, if you stay friendly. Don’t be afraid of going to a quiet corner if you’re worried or anxious. Gather your courage as you can.
Most writers are shy, and saying hello can be hard. Other writers and publishing professionals understand that. That said, make an effort to say hello to someone. You never know who they might be, and you’ll meet the most interesting people in the strangest of places.
As a general rule of thumb: If you pretend you’re at a business dinner, using your best etiquette and polite language, you’ll be fine. Someone who is polite and minds their manners will often find themselves invited to join groups. Be friendly, and be yourself – just avoid things like cursing, saying rude things about others, prejudice, racism, and sexism. You’d be surprised how often these things happen and how unwelcomed this sort of behavior actually is.
Don’t Oversell your Writing
We all want to make sales. When you’re attending a convention, it is considered bad form to go around trying to sell your books to everyone. If someone asks about your writing, come prepared with a quick pitch and a business card. If the individual is interested in you and your works, this gives you a chance to forge a professional connection with them.
There is a time and a place for selling your books. If you want to sell your books at a convention, there are options for you, but you likely need to enroll in them in advance. Don’t just bring books for sale at most conventions, as this is against the policies of many of the conventions. Ask the convention in advance if they have a book signing session, and what you need to do to become involved in it.
Don’t Stalk Editors or Agents
It’s surprisingly common. It’s hard not to be excited when you get to meet an agent or an editor, but don’t stalk them. It’s a good way to get kicked out of a convention and remembered in the worst possible way.
Prepare a Pitch in Advance
Practice your pitch in advance, so when you’re nervous, repetition memory kicks in. This is surprisingly effective at helping you get your pitch said without stumbling over your tongue. When anxious, most people don’t think on their feet very well. Be prepared, just in case.
Have fun at your next convention!
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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