|Image © Julie Campbell, 2013|
So, you just returned from a whirlwind trip to a writers conference, where you networked with agents and editors, made connections with other writers, and crammed your head with so much knowledge you could fill a football stadium. Now what?
Once the euphoria has worn off, here are five practical things you can do AFTER the conference:
1. Take a deep breath (and maybe even take a nap) – Most likely you have been waking up early (who decides to start these things at 8 a.m. anyway?) and staying up late, attending workshops and dinners and hobnobbing with (translation: kissing up to) agents, best-selling authors and editors. Don’t feel guilty about taking a day or two (or three) to chill, rest and process. As long as you get moving once your batteries are recharged, you’ll be fine.
2. Review and Write – Look over your notes, highlighter in hand, and mark valuable info that applies to you and your genre. If you really want to get fancy, you can even color-code your highlights – yellow for craft, pink for social media/website tips, green for marketing, etc. Then put all that good advice from the experts to good use and start writing and working on your trouble areas.
3. Follow Up – This is undoubtedly the single most important thing you can do after a conference. If an editor or agent has invited you to send a query, proposal, partial or full manuscript, get to work! Time is of the essence here, and as much as we writers like to procrastinate (heck, it’s a career for some of us!), now is NOT the time to mess around on Facebook or play Solitaire. Craft an amazing query letter (great advice on how to do that here), or get busy revising (or writing) your manuscript. At a recent conference I attended, one agent said if he requests a manuscript (and he knows the writer already has it written), he expects to see it within a week or two after the conference. Moral of the story: Don’t. Drag. Your. Feet.
4. Get Social – Remember all those business cards you collected at the conference? Now’s the time to follow your new found writer friends on Twitter and Facebook. It’s all about community, and there’s never been a better (or easier) time to network with your tribe and stay in touch.
5. Stay Productive and Be Patient – Don’t waste time hitting the refresh button on your e-mail every 30 seconds to see if your potential dream agent has contacted you. More than likely, it will take weeks, maybe even months, for anyone to get back with you. Publishing is one big waiting game, and the sooner you get to work on another project, the better. You need a distraction. So, if you haven’t already, start a blog or a website, get going on that new idea, or submit some magazine articles.
So, excuse me while I stop procrastinating by writing about what to do after a writers conference. Now, I actually need to follow my own advice and get to work. Happy writing!