Tuesday, January 6, 2015

25 Roses Blog Tour: Guest Post by Stephanie Faris

I'm excited to have Stephanie Faris here today giving us some great tips on how to survive a writers' conference. Stephanie's latest book 25 Roses comes out TODAY! And don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, an autographed copy of 25 Roses, and a chocolate long-stemmed rose!

Take it away, Stephanie!

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4 Tips to Survive a Writers’ Conference


Writers’ conferences are a great way to meet other writers, learn about your craft, and pitch your manuscript to editors and agents. No matter what genre you choose, there’s likely a writing conference specific to your genre. There are even conferences specific to self-publishing and blogging. Once you’ve decided on the perfect conference for you, here are a few tips for not only surviving, but making it an experience to remember.


Register Early


Competition can be fierce for conferences, especially if editor/agent appointments are involved. Not only is registration limited to a set number of attendees, you’ll often find editor/agent spots are limited to an even lower number of registrants. First registrants also get the best pick of workshops and special events. For best results, make a date to be at your computer, ready to register, as soon as registration opens.


Don’t Be Afraid to Go Alone


Some of my best memories are from the conferences I attended with writing friends. Some of the best connections and learning experiences, however, came from the conferences I attended alone. In researching articles I’ve written for my entrepreneur and marketing clients, I’ve actually found that many experts advise attending conferences alone. Every time I go to a conference, I notice the large cliques of people who section themselves off, not speaking to anyone but the same writing friends they communicate with online every day. While this is great for them, they miss out on making new connections and learning new things.


Prepare Your Pitch


If editor/agent appointments are available, you should sign up if possible. Even if you don’t feel you’re ready, you’ll gain experience in pitching your book ideas, making it easier to pitch when you are ready. You may also find an editor or agent has valuable feedback about your idea that can improve it dramatically. In my Romance Writers of America conference days, I came close to being published twice from pitch meetings at conferences. I even landed the attention of a Harlequin editor who later used my manuscript as an example of what Harlequin was interested in buying. (Yet they didn’t buy it…don’t ask me why!)


Use Your Manners


There are things you should never, ever do at a writer’s conference and almost all of them involve the practice stalking editors. DON’T chase an agent or editor into the bathroom and shove your manuscript under the door. Don’t corner an agent at the Saturday night mingle to tell her all about your latest book. If you get a chance to talk to one of these professionals, have a friendly conversation. If he or she asks about your work, offer your elevator pitch and leave it at that. If there’s an interest, you’ll be asked to send it in.

Most of all, have fun. Conferences can be stressful but when you look back on them, you always remember the people you met and the things you learned. If you can somehow find a way to relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll get the most out of the experience.


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This is such great advice. Thanks so much, Stephanie! And now, here's a sneak peek at 25 Roses!

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Book Blurb:

Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.

Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.


Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight. 



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Author Bio:

Stephanie Faris knew she wanted to be an author from a very young age. In fact, her mother often told her to stop reading so much and go outside and play with the other kids. After graduating from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism, she somehow found herself working in information technology. But she never stopped writing.



Stephanie is the author of 30 Days of No Gossip and 25 Roses, both with Aladdin M!x. When she isn’t crafting fiction, she writes for a variety of online websites on the topics of business, technology, and her favorite subject of all—fashion. She lives in Nashville with her husband, a sales executive. 

Links:



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26 comments:

  1. great tips! I'd probably have to go alone, since I don't know many people in my area...I can imagine being so overwhelmed. So much goes on at these things!

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    1. I started out in RWA and that org. has local chapters that meet monthly. You make friends LONG before the conference so you always have a group of people to go to regional conferences with, if you choose. The Nashville people would go to the Memphis conference, for instance, and we'd cluster together. I never met anyone new at those conferences, though, so I always think of that when I see the vast majority of people at conferences "cliquing up." It was a blast to go as a group, and FAR less scary...but I've found the people who aren't in a clique are usually SO friendly and excited to talk to you.

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    2. I enjoyed getting to know people at the conference I went to. Beth, definitely try going alone, you can meet some amazing people that way!

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  2. So great to be here today!!! I'm going to emphasize the part about attending conferences alone in my tweet. I actually have a good story to go with that. I attended two writers' conferences alone in 2013. At lunch at the first one, I sat with three complete strangers, handed out my business cards, and got a ton of tips from a self-pubbed author who really knew the business. It was better than any of the workshops I attended. At the second one, I attended a workshop about school visits and the presenter invited everyone in the class to have lunch with him. We all sat at a table and talked about the business--again I learned more from that than the workshops. The presenter was wise, too, because he knew he didn't have anyone to sit with at lunch so he had a guaranteed table full of people. If I ever present as a stranger in a strange land, I'm going to try that!

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    1. It was great to have you here today, Stephanie! My first conference this past September I attended with a friend who only stayed for half of it. I met SO many people and exchanged business cards which I probably wouldn't have done with that crutch of having my friend right beside me to talk to. This post was right on, Stephanie!

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  3. I've never attended a conference, but I can see the benefit of going alone. You're more apt to make new contacts than if you're just hanging with your friends the whole time.

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    1. Experts even advise (gasp) attending ALL of the networking events alone. It allows you to mingle.

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  4. I just saw this on another blog as well--it looks adorable! And thanks, those are definitely great tips for conferences. :D

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    1. Thank you, Cortney! That made me smile.

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    2. The cover is adorable isn't it! I'll bet the book is just as good! :)

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  5. These are such great tips, Stephanie! I went to my very first writers' conference last May (NESCBWI) and met up with a couple of CPs/online friends. It's so true that we sort of cliqued ourselves away, though we did try to talk to others as much as possible! I'll have to try going to one by myself and meet more people that way.

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    1. You really do. When you're already with people, you feel a little rude trying to talk to other people. Plus, solo attendees are less likely to try to speak with you if you're in a group. It's interesting to watch--the groups sort of build a bubble around themselves. Perhaps a good exercise would be to force everyone to group off during the welcome session and make everyone do an exercise where you network with people you've never met!

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    2. It's so true. When I was by myself at the last conference I went to, I tried to avoid the large groups and I focused instead on other writers who looked just as alone as I did! :)

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  6. These are great tips and the last one kind of made me giggle because it makes sense but i am certain you have seen this done more than once. When one goes alone, one is forced to engage with new people-that happens with any conference but often it is the best way to learn

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    1. Editors and agents have quite a few interesting stories, I'm sure. One of the funniest I saw was fictional--in the movie Authors Anonymous, a writer's husband was an eye doctor. When she found out an agent was coming in, she made her manuscript the eye exam and he put it up on the wall for the eye doctor to read. I hope that's never happened in real life!

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    2. Okay, that is the funniest story ever, Stephanie! I still need to watch that movie!

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  7. But c'mon, Steph, I was going to put it in a plastic bag before I slid it across the bathroom floor! ;) I've gone to one conference last year, and I did ok going up to ppl, but felt so awkward. This year I'm planning on volunteering. I figured that would help me not be as shy!

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    1. Haha! Too funny. I think it's a great idea that you're thinking of volunteering this year at the conference.

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  8. I can see why it's important to attend conferences by yourself. I don't go to many. But I always go alone. I did something right and didn't even know it. Go figure. Congrats Stephanie. I think you're a master at characterization. I shall dissect your writing after enjoying it.

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  9. Interesting tips. I don't think I'd ever go alone, though. I've never gone, and one doesn't seem to be in my future.

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  10. I so love the look and sound of this book! I've seen it everywhere. Congratulations to Stephanie!

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  11. Great advice, Stephanie. Congratulations on your fun book!

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  12. Very nice tips. Thanks for posting!

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  13. loving the book tour so far! great job Stephanie!!

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