Preparing Your Conference Notebook

NCWA welcomes Gina Conroy of “Writer Interrupted!”

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There’s nothing worse than waiting in line for your editor or agent appoint wondering about the unknown…nothing worse except walking into that meeting unprepared and the editor or agent asks to see your One Sheet or your first chapter, and you fumble through your papers to find it or worse, don’t have anything to offer. That’s why a conference notebook is essential to showing the editor you’re a professional and serious about your writing.

Supplies you’ll need for your conference notebook:

(1) 1 1/2 in binder
(10-20) plastic page protectors to put your papers in
(1) pack of dividers
(2-3) Baseball card pages or business card holders. You can get these at Walmart.
Business Cards
Thank You cards with stamps
List of cell numbers for those you want to connect with at the conference
Goal sheet
Agent and Editor list of who you want to meet
Volunteer work dates and times
“People I want to meet in real life” list: These are internet friends who will be attending the conference that you’ve never met in real life.

Just so you know, I don’t have the market on a conference notebook, so feel free to do what works for you.

In the little pocket on the inside cover of my notebook, I put phone numbers of friends/roommate, my conference goals, and “People I want to meet” list. For example: Meet with so and so. Pitch to this editor. Ask this agent these questions. Start planning now because I guarantee once conference rolls around you’ll be too excited, overwhelmed, or nervous to remember everything.

Leave the first plastic page protector empty. Your registration information will go here as well as editor and agent appointments and classes you’ve signed up for.

In the next page protector put your agent/editor list you printed out and highlighted from online. Then refer to it often, especially before you sit down at one of the editor tables for lunch. This list does not need to go in the plastic protectors, but it helps to be able to grab the list quickly if you need to bring it with you and don’t want to haul around your entire conference notebook.

Next, add your business card holders. These are great for collecting agent/editor and author cards as well as holding your own business cards. Use your dividers to separate the WIPs you’ll be pitching. In the first section fill your page protectors with several One Sheets. After the One Sheet, I put a couple copies of my first chapter in the next page protector, and then my proposal, then repeat for other WIPS.

In addition to the Conference Notebook, I make individual editor and agent folders. If I know ahead of time who I’ll be pitching too, everything I need goes into one folder. That’s the only thing I pull out when meeting with an agent or editor. It’s much easier than pulling out my conference notebook and thumbing through pages to find what an editor wants. But I still have my conference notebook handy, in my bag, more like a security blanket, just in case I forgot something in my packet.

What about you? Do you have any tips and tricks to help you stay organized for conference?

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This post first appeared September 16, 2011 on “Writer…Interrupted“.

Gina Conroy used to think she knew where her life was headed; now she’s leaning on the Lord to show her the way.  She is the founder of Writer…Interrupted  where she mentors busy writers and tries to keep things in perspective, knowing God’s timing is perfect, even if she doesn’t agree with it! 😉 She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012. On her blog Defying Gravity and twitter she chronicles her triumphs and trials as she pursues her dreams while encouraging her family and others to chase after their own passions. Gina loves to connect with readers, and when she isn’t writing, teaching, or driving kids around, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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3 thoughts on “Preparing Your Conference Notebook

  1. This is perfect. Writer’s conferences “are” overwhelming and having this list is a great starting point! Bravo! 8^)

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  2. Love these ideas! I was preparing a binder, but hadn’t thought of all these tips. Thanks for sharing your organizing ideas. Gotta’ add this to my list of things to do before Conference this weekend….

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  3. Pingback: Going to the NCWA Renewal Conference?? | Northwest Christian Writers Association

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