Conference season is almost upon us. Attending your first conference can be a bit like your first day at school – new faces, timetables, worried you’ll have no one to sit with at lunch…
Being a veteran of a whole one conference I’m eminently under qualified to dish out advice but that’s never stopped me before ;-)
1. Succumb to the ‘Do I know you? Should I know you? Have I read you?’ paranoia. If in doubt just smile and talk about that great common denominator – biscuits.
2. Take any credit cards or cash unless you’re prepared to buy lots of books. Every author will do such a brilliant job of selling themselves that the urge to buy their book and then chase them round campus, pen in hand and asking for autographs, will almost certainly overtake you.
3. Talk banal drivel to a badge-less person. They will undoubtedly be VIWs (Very Important Writers) and while they might be glad of a change of subject from their RITA successes and multi book contracts it will make you look a bit of a prat. (Checking your accommodation list reduces this risk, take it from someone who wished she’d done that last year!)
4. Underestimate the importance of the tea queue as a source of great advice. Some of the best tips I picked up last year weren’t in the seminars but while reaching for a jammy dodger.
5. Forget where you put your water when a talk begins. You’ll inevitably kick it over the shoes of the person in front of you. (Sorry if that was you. Hope they dried out okay!)
6. Be afraid to eavesdrop – really, you’ll pick up great gems of gossip about publishers, the nitty-gritty of contracts… all that stuff that no one puts into writing out of political correctness.
1. Take advantage of opportunities to chat to editors and agents. Where else can you get instant, informed feedback from those in the know?
2. Expect to go home more enthused about getting stuck into writing time than seeing your nearest and dearest again!
If you're attending the RNA conference this year come and say hello to me, Lorraine Wilson and fellow minxes Joanne, Romy and Maya.