How to Prepare for a Writers Conference

It's writer's conference season!!!  It's also summer, which means no school.  What does that mean?  Writer's conference prep!  Sadly, I won't be attending any conferences this year, but here is how you can prepare (because your first time can be very scary).

1. Plan ahead.  Pace yourself.

Don't procrastinate all of this stuff until the week before the conference.  Start planning now!

2. If you are planning on pitching, research the publishers at the conference and prepare your pitch!

Here are some great resources:

Also, the conference I went to did a series of blog posts where an agent/publisher said what an author should bring to a pitch session.  This was very helpful!  (And even if the publisher only requires the first few pages, bring at least the entire first chapter.  They may ask for more!)

3. If you aren't pitching, still prepare an elevator pitch.

"What's your book about?" is a common question at writers conferences, from authors, publishers, agents, and vendors.  People want to know!  It's much better to have a plan than scream, run for the bathroom, or hastily change the subject.

For tips on how to write an elevator pitch, I highly recommend this link:


4. Bring a notebook, pen, or something to take notes with.

You're in a bunch of amazing classes, TAKE NOTES!  Even if you hate taking notes, DO IT.

5. Bring spending money.

There's most likely going to be a bookstore featuring authors attending the conference.  That means...signed books!  And books in general.  Yes, spending money is a must.

6. Learn to like coffee, tea, or anything caffeinated.

Writer's conference = no sleep

7. Bring a camera.

You're going to meet a ton of new writer friends!  Pictures are a must!

8. Prepare to socialize.

Last year, I went to Realm Makers with the goal of meeting as many people as possible.  Suddenly, I became an extrovert and actually started conversations.  One time, I started talking to Patrick Carr's wife without knowing who she was.  Then I looked at her name tag...

9. Make business cards with your contact info on it.

Your new friends are going to want to keep in contact with you/follow your social media!  Make it easy for them!

Have you ever been to a writer's conference before?  Are you going to one this year?  What are some of your tips for a newbie conference goer?


  1. I have not been to a writer's conference yet, but I really want to!!! I was hoping I could go this year, but it might have to wait until next year. We will see. Either way, I am SO looking forward to going!!!

    Thank you SO much for this post! I LOVED reading it, and your tips and links were great!!!

    1. Writer's conferences are AWESOME! You need to go next year. (I have to wait until then too.)

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

    I've never been to a writer's conference! <3

  3. Pitches. *squeaks and hides* Just the thought of needing to pitch is terrifying xD. Have you ever pitched at a conference, Alea?

    ~ Savannah @ Scattered Scribblings

    1. I did pitch at a conference. It was extremely scary, but the second time was much easier than the first.

  4. These are /really/ good tips. I've been to the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop, which is like a writer's conference, but it's only for those who do the curriculum, so there's already a shared background and a lot of us knew each other before hand, so I get the feeling it's rather different from something like Realm Makers. Pretty much most of these would apply/be helpful for it, though, especially as I'm preparing to go back this summer (20 DAYSSSS)

    Hm... probably bring a water bottle. It's soooo hard to keep an interesting conversation going if you're dying of thirst.

    1. I've heard that the One Year Adventure Novel Workshop is fun, but I've never done the program. Yeah, it's probably different from Realm Makers. YAY! Have FUN!

      Haha. Yes, water is always a good thing. :)

  5. OH GOODNESS I LOVE THE PIC. *Cries* I can't believe it's been a whole year since RM last year. These are all wonderful tips. And business cards I didn't have last year but have been meaning to make.

    1. Me too! :D I love it so much. Honestly, Realm Makers feels like it was yesterday.

  6. YES I NEEDED THIS. I'm going to my first conference this year and I sort of had an idea of what I would need but it was a /vague/ idea. xD *promptly bookmarks this post*

    1. YAY! *high five* Have an AMAZING time!!! This list is by no means exhaustive. I recommend asking other people who have been to conferences to get more information.

  7. People: "What's your book about?"
    Me: ...

    I'm nowhere near publication/agents/all that stuff yet, but a friend's mum asking me about my book is enough to freak me out. ;) I suppose it's a good thing I have a while to practise before I need to pitch! Thanks for the post, Alea! :)

    1. That question used to scare me, but it doesn't really anymore because I practiced (and had to do it a million times at Realm Makers).


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