Monday, September 5, 2011

Notes on Writing: Melissa K. Norris

7 Tips to Get the Most From Writer’s Conferences

 Melissa K. Norris

Read any agent’s or editor’s blog, and you’ll most likely find them advising you to attend at least one writer’s conference a year. There are many to choose from. Location and price will influence your choice.

So you’ve done it. Paid your fee, reserved your hotel room, and are ready to be inspired and attend the conference. Whether you’re a newbie or veteran attendee, you can always make your experience better.

1.   Pack wisely. You want to portray yourself as a professional, but conferences make for long days. Business casual is a good option. Chose low heeled shoes or flats. No tennis shoes. Dress in layers. Some rooms are hot, other’s cold.

2.   Come prepared. Bring a large purse or small tote. Most rooms have water glasses, but bring a water bottle along in case. A small snack, granola bar, banana, in case you get hungry in-between meals. A notebook for taking notes and storing handouts from classes.

3.   Hone your pitch. If you’re meeting with an agent or editor, have your pitch worked out ahead of time. Write it down on a notecard. Be conscious of the others time in group appointments. No one, including the agent/editor, likes a time hog.

4.   Business cards. You can print them yourself or go to for some inexpensive ones. Include your name, email, website, blog, and what you write. 

5.   Be social. This is your chance to surround yourself with other writers. People who get you and what you do. Even if you don’t know anyone there, find someone sitting or standing alone and ask them what they write. (Remember to return the favor if asked.)

6.   Pray. Really. Ask God to lead you to people at the conference. This is how I met my two blogging partners last year. Dedicate yourself to asking God for direction in your writing career. I promise He will show you the way to the path He wants for you.

7.   Relax. You are taking a step forward in your writing career. You are honing your craft. Enjoy this time focusing on your gift.

I’d love to hear your best for tips for conferences. What is your favorite conference?

I hope to see and meet some of you at this year’s Northwest Christian Author Writer’s Renewal May 20-21, 2011.

About Melissa:
Melissa joined NCWA in 2010. She is a wife, mother, and a lover of quilts and things pioneer, but can’t resist flashy jewelry and cute purses. Read an excerpt of her novel at . Grow your faith and find inspiration with your daily dose of Faith, Friends, and Frappuccino’s at


Delia Latham said...

Melissa, this article is so timely! Thank you for sending it. I've attended a couple of small conferences, but nothing anywhere close to the scale of ACFW. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the Called to Write Conference in Kansas earlier this year. I consider it an appetizer to the feast I'll be getting in St. Louis. That said, some of the classes/workshops I attended in Kansas were truly phenomenal, so if they were appetizers, they were very high-end fare!

Melissa K Norris said...

I share your dream to attend ACFW conference. I love the idea of starting a savings account for it. Hopefully, I'll get there before 5 years. :)