Saturday, March 27, 2010

5 Conferencing to Sell Your Manuscript

Especially if you have a manuscript ready for publication, going to trade conferences like SCBWI and Backspace is something to consider seriously. At a good conference, you can get inspired and educated and humbled by the talent around you, but you can also make contacts that could take you one step closer to making your book a reality. To get the most out of a conference, be prepared. There are some simple tips to help you get the best return on your investment.
  • Know your goals. Are you really ready to submit? Or are you going to learn and improve a manuscript that still needs work?
  • Take advantage of pay-for-critique opportunities. Whether you feel your manuscript is ready or not, don't let an opportunity for a professional perspective pass you by.
  • Be prepared. Research the agents, editors, and authors who will be attending and what they have published. That way, you will have killer questions and well-crafted conversation starters ready.
  • Be selective. Since conferences require time and money, choose conferences that you believe are beneficial for you.
  • Know your pitch. It’s important to be natural  and succinct in your delivery if you get the chance to speak with an agent or editor. Have your one-sentence pitch perfected. 
  • Show what's in it for them. In addition to your pitch, make sure you can identify why it's right for a particular agent or editor. "Persuade them that your work fills a gap in their list, or is the ideal followup to another work they've sold/published. Tell them how you've already established a marketing foothold in your target market, and so on. Remember - it's a business!" (Thanks Jon Bard!)
  • Don’t be shy. This is hard for us writer types, but if you’ve invested the time and money to attend a conference, take yourself out of your comfort zone to connect.
  • Network. Take down email, facebook, twitter, blog and other contact information and start making lasting friendships. Bring plenty of business cards and pass them around.
  • Be professional. Contrary to what we would like to believe, appearance does matter and first impressions do count. If you want to be considered professional, act the part.
Further Reading:
How to Get the Most From a Writer's Conference Even if You're Shy
Why a Writer's Conference is Important
The Conference Schmooze
Writers' Conferences
Happy Conference Season!

Marissa

5 comments:

  1. Awesome advice! I personally can't wait for the SCBWI LA conference this year.

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  2. This was fabulously interesting - alas I live in Greece so for me personally its not a viable possibility. However, for you Americans over there you should realise how lucky you are to have these opportunities and make every effort to go! I'm so envious!
    Have fun and THANKS for posting the information.

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  3. Great advice. I'd add one thing about talking with editors or agents:

    Present your idea with an eye toward what's in it for *them* if they take you on. Persuade them that your work fills a gap in their list, or is the ideal followup to another work they've sold/published. Tell them how you've already established a marketing foothold in your target market, and so on. Remember - it's a business!

    All the best,

    Jon Bard

    * Managing Editor, Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers

    * Fightin' Bookworm in Chief, The CBI Clubhouse -- The Essential Children's Writing Resource http://cbiclubhouse.com

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  4. Thanks Lisa and Ann Marie! We're very glad you found this helpful. Ann Marie, the SCBWI usually posts a blog after the big conferences, so you can catch up a little -- and there are compensations to living in Greece, right?

    Jon, thank you very much! We've added your suggestion to the post to make it easier for writers to see. Very valuable advice!

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  5. MMmm- more useful info. THANKS!
    About the compensation thing - where else would I be able to have a donkey AND to have learnt riding that noble beast side saddle ?? Beat THAT you lucky Americans!!...still feel a bit envious though...
    Go and enjoy!

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