Conference 101: Etiquette and Tips

Posted by July 29th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (June 30, 2011)


Book Country talks to agent Jennifer Laughran about the DOs and DON’Ts of writers conferences and conventions.

If you’ve ever been to a writers conference or genre convention, you know they can be overwhelming. They are swarming with people from all areas of the industry and levels of expertise: editors, agents, published authors, marketing gurus, aspiring authors….The list goes on and on. And if you’re a first-time attendee, it’s even more intense. You don’t know the etiquette–what to prepare, how to approach people, etc.–and you don’t know what not to do. Even season veterans might not know for sure what’s expected and accepted.

So, on June 30th, in the midst of the Romance Writers of America’s National Convention, the Book Country team took some time to help you get a handle on it via a live Twitter Chat. Jennifer Laughran (aka @literaticat), an agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and a veteran of many writing conferences, graciously joined us to share her expertise as well.

Here are a few gems from the lively discussion:

@literaticat: I would much rather authors spend time just talking to me like a human, rather than trying to “pitch.”

@ColleenLindsay: DO: Bring sets of pages of your finished work with you to pitch sessions. You never know if an editor or agent will ask for it.

@mbrucebarton: The one thing that’s really not ok is pitching without understanding what the agent/editor does

@Book_Country: DO: Give editors/agents some personal time and space!

@EverettMaroon: Don’t expect every conference moment to be a selling moment. Remember you’re there to learn, too.

@literaticat: If I ask you “so what is your book about” – I’d rather you just tell me, than have a stilted weird speech prepared.

@ColleenLindsay: DON’T: Interrupt agent/editor who is having a conversation with someone. Wait for a natural break and then introduce yourself.

@mbrucebarton: Tip for cons: DO talk about the rest of your life and how you fit writing in. It’s humanizing small talk, and shows commitment.

If you missed the chat or want to remind yourself, we’ve posted the entire transcript as a PDF document here. The PDF will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Thanks to all who made this chat such a great success!

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!



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