Book Expo America: The Plan
I learned the hard way how important it is to have a plan when attending a conference or convention. While I’m not a shoot from the hip kind of girl, the first conference I attended (RWA National in Reno), I didn’t have much of a plan and frankly, I got very little out of a very expensive experience. I didn’t read up ahead of time what the workshops were all about. I didn’t look at which authors were presenting, or even what they wrote. I had no idea what to expect.
In a nutshell, I went to a few workshops (was disappointed because I hadn’t done my homework on the presenters). I spent a lot of time in my room working on my pitch and then after I got the request for the full, I spent even more time in my room going through my manuscript one more time. After I got home, I sent off my manuscript and then began reading emails about other writers’ experiences. It was then that I realized how much I had missed. Now I plan.
Last weekend I gave a presentation to the Pocono’s Lehigh RWA chapter. What I loved about the writers attending is they all had a plan for my workshop. Everyone came with specific questions. I think this is important when going to a workshop. Know what you want to learn and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or if something you thought would be covered and wasn’t, don’t be afraid to ask.
Whether it is presenting or attending, planing is key for making the most of your experience.
Bob and I have been using a combination of Dropbox and Google Docs for some of our work. Google Docs is nice because we can both be working on a document and we can see what the other is doing. A little weird, but it works. I parked a spreadsheet there for my schedule for BEA. I’m going to be meeting people from Kobo, Apple, Amazon and also talking to other authors. I like to set up meetings ahead of time when possible. I find it slightly amusing that Bob is adding to my schedule, but going to BEA is a big deal for Cool Gus Publishing. It will be the first convention we are going with the official new name change. We have a shelf on the digital bookshelf showing off some of our fiction titles. Its exciting times and I’m really looking forward to attending. I have never been to BEA. All the more reason to do my homework.
I’m only going to BEA for two days and I want to make sure I get everything done that I have my BEA checklist. I’ve contacted a few author and agent friends I know that have attended and they have given me all sorts of tips. Now, you would think someone like me who speaks at least 6 conferences a year, this process would be a no brainer. However, we have found that when we don’t use checklists we then make mistakes. Early this week Bob shared his SOP for the ACX audio program. Anytime he adds a book to our audio listing, he’s going to follow that SOP and if it needs changing, he will change it.
So what is my SOP for attending a conference? I actually change it up each time I go, but mainly it consists of:
- Write out business and personal goals for conference
- Create any swag, business cards, etc.
- Know what presentation to attend before getting there
- Know the presenters and find them on-line, learning as much about them as possible
- Contact other business professionals who have attended the conference
- Make a list of who I want to meet with
- Contact them if I can and arrange meetings
- Of the people I want to meet, find out if they are giving a workshop, having a booth and schedule in a time to visit
- Once there, walk the terrain–learn where everything is first
- Stay on the conference floor the ENTIRE day
- Drink water and have snacks like peanuts or a granola bar
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Take notes
- When returning home, rewrite notes
- Jot down thoughts and send on to Bob
- File business cards and connect with the people I meet
- Go through all of this a week later and work on staying connected after the conference
So far, for BEA I’m nearly booked solid for the two days with meetings. The highlight will be that Cool Gus Publishing will be hanging out at the Kobo booth on Tuesday from 1-2:30 and again on Wednesday from 1-2:30. If you are going to be at BEA, come stop by and say hello. Bob and I are very excited about the future and what that means for writers and more importantly: readers. Readers Rule.
Write It Forward
Posted on May 18, 2012, in Write It forward and tagged Apple, BEA, Bob Mayer, Cool Gus Publishing, Google Doc, Jen Talty, Kobo, Workshop, Write It Forward, Writers Resources. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.