Its convention and festival season now (actually it is year round). For authors, conventions and festivals are opportunities to promote their books, offer workshops and talks and interact with their clients. For the people attending the convention, it’s an opportunity to met with their favorite author and talk about the work they love. Whether you’re a new author or an established one, its important to get into conventions and be attending them consistently as a way to raise awareness of your work. With that in mind the following tips can help you get into conventions:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can present at a convention. When you find out about a convention, visit the convention website and find out who to contact for workshops. If a form is available for you to fill out, then go ahead and fill it out. By letting them know that you want to attend the festival and present you will probably find they are open to it. Worse comes to worse they say no for this year and you try again next year.
2. Recognize that you may need to spend money to attend the event. If you presenting at the event for the first time, you will likely have to spend money to attend the event. You may need to pay for airfare or gas, hotel, and food. You may even need to pay for registration for the event. It’s important to recognize this is an investment. It’ll cost some money, but the payoff is that it can provide you an opportunity to present again at that festival or convention. You may find you need to invest multiple times. The reason for that is simple: until you create a demand for what you offer, the people who organize the event will not value you as much as the people who have that demand.
3. Come up with at least three workshops you’d like to present. When you provide your workshops, come with at least up 3 workshops, so that you can provide some options for programming to pick up. I also suggest that you come up with at least five different titles for each workshop, and pick the one that grabs people’s’ attention. A bland or nondescript title won’t grab programming and it won’t grab the attendees (In a future post I’ll share some tips on how to develop titles)
4. Don’t be a prima donna. When you go to an event don’t expect t be waited on hand and foot. This advice applies not just to first time presenters, but to veteran presenters. Show respect to the people who’ve put on the event and work with them. Help them put on the best possible event ever, so that they remember you and look forward to having you come back.
5. Have fun and make time to get to know people. You aren’t at the event to present. At least that’s not your primary reason. You are at the event to get to know people, to develop relationships and become memorable to people who hear you present. Treat the people you meet with courtesy and respect. Make some time to chat with people by going to evening parties or meeting them for a meal. Remember you want to make memorable impressions that help people get to know you and get them to tell people organizing at the event that they want you back.
In next week’s article I’m going to share some tips that festival organizers can keep in mind when they have authors at their events.