We know there’s a difference between writing and being good at it, but how do we get from one to the other? That’s a mystery all writers tangle with. A question we want an answer to. But rather than asking some no-name blogger who hasn’t finished their manuscript, you really should consult a pro.
Writing conferences were created for that very purpose. There are a variety of draws. Workshops for honing your craft, keynote speakers you’ve dreamt of meeting, Q&A panels where you get answers from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. And recently I’ve discovered the wonder and accessibility of online conferences. All the same perks, plus you don’t have to change out of your pajamas. It’s a win-win, so long as you know how to prepare.
Tip 1: That’s Right, Prepare
An online writing conference is still a writing conference. You’ll want to have your stuff together.
- pack along your notebook & snacks
- keep a list of your biggest, hardest, awkwardest questions handy for Q&A events
- have the conference schedule handy so you don’t miss anything important
Tip 2: Dress for Success
You don’t need to be business casual for an online event, but don’t forget to put your best foot forward.
- remember your three Ps: be polite, patient, and as professional as possible
- double-check for typos before posting comments or questions
- be there to learn and form connections, not to promote yourself
Tip 3: Get Your Money’s Worth
Many online conferences have a lot to offer in addition to the main event that you won’t want to miss out on.
- check the website for ticket upgrades, early bird specials, giveaways, or cool freebies
- subscribe to the conference’s newsletter, blog, and social media accounts for insider-only info
- don’t be afraid to contact the admin if you need help or run into technical issues
Tip 4: Get in There
Remaining in the shadows and stalking the forums might be your tendency, but you’ll get so much more out of the experience if you put yourself out there a little bit.
- participate in workshops or writing exercises even if you don’t post your results publicly
- you don’t have to share everything, just what you’re comfortable with
- remember, leaving a comment is much easier than trying to hold a conversation
Tip 5: Follow Up
While you may not get face-to-face time with the agents and authors at an online conference, there’s no reason to remain distant.
- send a thank you Tweet, message, or comment to your favorite speakers (and maybe the conference staff, too)
- it’s totally cool (and encouraged) to follow agents and authors during the conference via their social media accounts, newsletters, or blogs
- purchasing merch from the conference or buying a book from your favorite speaker is a cool way to support them further if you have the means to do so
What are your hot tips for attending online writing conferences?
Looking to put these tips to the test? WriteOnCon runs February 8-10 and tickets are now available starting at an unbeatable admission price of $5. Check it out!