Friday, July 03, 2009

The Party’s Over

You’re home. The conference was exhilarating and you were running from seven in the morning when you hit the breakfast buffet to midnight when you closed up the bar.

But now, the party’s over and you’re home. Done. Kaput. Back to writing.

Hold on. Not yet.

You got a few things to clean up from the party.

First thing: Get out the program that listed the agents and any cards you picked up from agents and all notes you made. Start a list of who you pitched, met, listened to, sat at the table with, smiled at in the elevator, or bought a drink for at the bar. Write down all information that comes to mind. Remember to put the date and conference. You can make a master list and also individual docs for each agent. Save it all to the folder on your computer called Agents.

Second thing: Dig out those collected business cards and notes you made on writers, speakers, conference staff, vendors, and others at the conference. Now, organize those. Pull out the most important contacts and give them their own document. The rest can go on a master document for the conference. As you did for the agents, put down all the information you can remember. These are people who might help you in the future. These are people who could blurb your book or have the say about whether you get to speak at a future conference. They might be the bookseller who later on will decide whether to carry your book and the editor you email to help you with your manuscript. All those email, twitter, blog, FaceBook, YouTube addresses you got? Within the first two weeks home, follow them, visit their blog and comment and leave a link to your blog. For those you really connected with, email them.

Third thing: Gather all your receipts. On the back write what the expense was for. If it was coffee or food, note who you were talking with and about what. If you bought writing related things, keep the receipt. If you bought a kewpie key ring, you can probably toss it - unless you somehow fit it into your book, then check with your CPA. Definitely keep the receipt for your conference registration. Unless you’re really, really, organized and have a spread sheet set up, get an envelope, label it and stuff your receipts in there.

Fourth thing: Create a list of emails you gathered. Put the date and conference after each listing. Some day, when your book comes out (or your next book) send each one an individual email, reminding them of your connection, and let them know your book is out. Do NOT add them to a master list of subscribers to your newsletter or to any mass mailing or e-mailing. They did not sign up for that.

Last thing: Put your feet up. Relax. Have a cup of tea or a glass of wine. The party’s over.

Now the work begins. Are you ready to query those agents you liked and who are taking submissions? Have you written a blog post about the conference and what you learned? At the conference, did you find out your query is all discombobulated? Your first chapter boring and too complicated? Your climax slow?

Put down that wine bottle and get to work. Like I said, the party’s over. Oh. Don’t forget to start planning the next conference strategy.
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23 comments:

  1. Great advice about keeping track of expenses. That wouldn't even have occurred to me.

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  2. Wish I'd had this advice for the first couple of conferences I attended! I think I'll get a lot more out of the conference this year thanks to your posts.

    JaneKennedySutton

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  3. At least now I know what to do if I get up enough nerve and energy to attend one.
    karen walker

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  4. It's all the little things that add up to make the difference, isn't it?

    Karen, once you decide on a conference, start asking around to see if someone you know is going. It helps to have a friendly face nearby.

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  5. Just a great series, Helen. Thanks so much for your insight and useful, practical Advice. Well done.

    Best regards, Galen
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

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  6. What great advice. I never really thought about the long term benefits, like building an email list, future blurbs for a book. Small things to take note of with huge future benefits. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  8. Great list of advices. But I'm pooped. I'll have a couple vodkas and go to bed, thank you very much. The work starts in the next morning. LOL

    The Old Silly

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  9. Thanks to everyone for contributing to this series. Keep the comments coming!

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  10. This is great advice Helen. I especially like the keeping track of expenses bit- which I didn't do at the Cape Town Book Fair I just attended. OOPS!

    You've given me the push to send an email off to a woman I met at Cape Town. I've hesitated since she is quite an important person in Germany but I felt we made a connection and she could end up being a good link for me there.

    I do tend to become quite an extrovert at Fairs which is handy and not characteristic. Now I know why.

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  11. Good for you, Lauri. Yes, write the woman a note. Start a conversation. You never know where it might lead.

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  12. Great checklist - and send thank you cards to those who might need them as well.

    BTW - now I have that song by Journey going through my head after seeing your blog post's title!

    L. Diane Wolfe
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
    www.spunkonastick.net
    www.thecircleoffriends.net

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  13. Great advice... Should be applied to LIFE! Follow-up :)

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  14. Ha! You're welcome, Diane. (I hate it when a song gets stuck in my head.)

    You're right, Alexis. If only we could always be this organized in our personal lives.

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  15. Very good advice, Helen. I always came back from conferences so pumped up with enthusiasm that I immediately went to my typewriter (and later computer) and started writing. Receipts? What the heck did I do with them? :)

    Jean
    http://mysteriouspeople.blogspot.com/

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  16. Very sage wisdom here, and things I always swear I'm going to do "as soon as I get home" after an event...then forget to do. Thanks!

    --Lisa
    http://authorlisalogan.blogspot.com

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  17. I know what you mean about coming home pumped with enthusiasm and forgetting what you meant to do.

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  18. Hey Helen - can I have your email addy? I lost it when the Google Nazis zapped all my old accounts. I'm now at marvwilson2020@gmail.com - also, could you change the url in your blog roll to the new site - http://theoldsilly.com ? Pwetty Pweeeease?

    Tanks! ;)

    The Old Silly

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  19. Great stuff, Helen. Also, don't send those sample pages/queries out too quickly. Let the dust settle first so yours doesn't get stuck in a giant stack of stuff sent out immediately by conference attendees.

    Also, Helen, did you get the blog piece I sent you about volunteering at a conference? I'm afraid it got lost in the shuffle. Let me know.

    Joe O'Connell
    author of EVACUATION PLAN
    Winner of the North Texas Book Festival Award
    Finalist for the Violet Crown Book Award

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  20. Hi Joe. I just double-checked my four main eboxes and I don't see an email from you. I don't seem to have an email address written down for you. I'm gonna go searching for one.

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  21. I wish I'd followed this routine after the conferences I attended in 2007-2008. I stuffed everything into folders and stuck them in the file box under "Conferences." When I want something, I have to wade through the mess.

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  22. Sigh, look like being a writer is a full time job too.

    Bargain with the Devil

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  23. Unless you're born ultra-organized, you have to learn it through practice. Or like Patricia - and me - you learn it the hard way. It's a bit of a pain, but most of the time you'll be glad you did it.

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