By Jill Earl
As I head off to another writers’ conference later this week, the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, I look forward to participating in the one-on-one appointments with various editors, agents, publicists and authors. Depending on the number of days conferees will be in attendance, they can schedule one, two, three or four 15-minute meetings, which are free. Below is a quick list I’ve compiled of items to keep in mind while preparing for these encounters.
1) Study, study, study. Make a list of those you’re interested in, then head over to the site of your particular conference and click on the information page(s) to read up on your choices. Make note of their guidelines or request them by mail. This would be a good opportunity to request sample copies of magazines, journals or book catalogs too.
2) Give your manuscript a workout. After you’ve determined the editorial needs of your selected, it’s time to shape up your manuscript. Generally a 12-point font in Times Roman, Courier or Arial is acceptable, but go with the guidelines suggested by your targeted periodical or editor. Polish your manuscript till that baby shines, and make sure you keep a copy for your files.
3) Remember the time. Generally, one-on-one meetings are about 15 minutes in length, so try to stick with that limit. Be fair to your fellow conferees by not cutting into their time. Even if you’ve made a great connection, perhaps you can schedule another time to finish up your chat, perhaps over a meal
4) They’re human. Many of us tend to forget that agents, editors and publicists are human---no really, they are. Granted, they’re at the conference to see what writers have to offer, but don’t stop there. See if you can arrange a few moments with that agent for a chat over coffee, perhaps a meal. It’s a great way to network and make new contacts.
And here’s one last one:
5) Enjoy. Give yourself permission to breathe and enjoy the experience. Think of it as one step closer to that book deal or magazine article.