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The Do’s and Don’ts of Attending a Writers’ Conference

So, you’ve signed up for a writers conference? Great! And it’s your first writers conference? Wonderful! You’ve taken the brave step to register. Now comes the planning, packing, and expectations. Well, before you pour too much into those expectations (because, as we’ve all experienced, the gap between expectation and reality can often breed disappointment), let me share some of my wisdom gleaned from many conferences. Some for which I was well prepared, and some not so much.

At any rate, without further ado…here we go.


And no, I’m not talking about your super ultra fancy hair care stuff…although, I certainly have those on my packing list. Curly hair can be crazy difficult. But I mean things that you might need for the conference. For one-on-ones. For pitching.

First, you will want to plan to bring business cards. These are exchanged at an alarming rate at conferences. But it is the best way I can think of to carry an opportunity to connect beyond the conference end. Make sure it has your author email, social media contacts, and website link at a minimum. It’s helpful if you have a picture of yourself on the card. One trick I learned early on (since you will likely have several business cards), is to write the conference initials, year, and something memorable about how you met that person on the back of their business card (e.g. KCWC2024 met at lunch).

Next, if you plan to do one-on-one appointments with an agent, acquisition editor, or mentor writer, you will want to have ‘one sheets.’ It’s basically a sheet that has your book’s basic stats: genre, word count (or projected word count), if it is finished or not as well as a blurb/short synopsis like a back cover copy. And your stats: name, contact information, short bio, etc.


We, as writers, can be such sponges, right? And conferences are a ton of information in a short amount of time (cue “drinking from a firehose illustration”). It may be tempting to go back to your hotel room or to find a quiet place to think and process. I know the struggle is real. But one of the most important things about a conference is the networking. You never know what kinds of friendships can bloom from one interaction. Or how those interactions can help down the road.


I know you’ve heard “you get out what you put in.” Well, this is no exception. Being present in classes and workshops, asking questions, putting effort into networking, starting conversations, joining conversations, etc. I know the introverts in the back are shaking their heads. Just trust me…this is so important.


Remember, you are surrounded by people with the same goals you have. And the same passion for writing and for our Lord. These are unique opportunities. But don’t be afraid to take a deep breath and remind yourself we are a team–putting the words we partner with God to write out to a hurting world. Know that the writers around you in class or in the dining area, no matter where they are in their writing and publishing journey, are valuable and bring something to the table. Enjoy them. Enjoy the wisdom and experience of the faculty and conferees alike.


Continuing on this networking kick…make sure you come find me at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. I am so excited to meet you! I started my journey attending conferences. I would love to tell you all the things God has taught me and done through the divine appointments at these conferences. And you can count on my smile if nothing else!


Sara (

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