Realm Makers is just over a week away–and we can hardly wait. With all the excitement and all the preparation, there’s a few things newbies (and even the vets) should know. So, we have a 3-part series this week to address a few questions. We sent a survey out to several previous attendees, asking these 3 questions:
Monday: What do you think are some good rules for conference etiquette?
Wednesday: What should attendees bring to Realm Makers?
Friday: What should new attendees expect when they arrive or while they’re at Realm Makers?
The key to a successful conference is preparation and communication!
So, without further ado . . .
Good Rules for Conference Etiquette
Obey the 3,2,1 rule of all cons: At least 3 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day, and yes- at least 1 shower.
Practice humility and understand we’re a family that comes from different backgrounds and levels of experience. Advice is wanted and needed, but practice sensitivity to other struggles. –JJ Johson, Author
If you’ve got to leave a session for an appointment, try to sit in the back. Conversely, if you’re not leaving, sit in the front to leave the back for those coming and going. You can always start a conversation with, “What are you writing?” Make sure to address Becky Minor as “The High Queen of the Consortium” at all times. –Jason Joyner, Writer
Be respectful of agents & editors, and their time. They’re there for you, but there are hundreds of “yous” attending. –Ronie Kendig, Author
Interpret everything in the best light possible. For example: some of us have prosopagnosia and if we don’t recognize you the second of third time we meet, we’re not snubbing you, we really don’t recognize you. Wear your name tag proudly.
Ask people about their books. Be open to genres you’ve never considered before. (I’ve learned so much about horror at these conferences. I used to hate all horror. Now I just hate most horror.) –Lelia Rose Foreman, Author
Be professional. Yes, we all like to have a good time in nerdly camaraderie, but this is a conference, not a comicon. Be respectful of the speakers, the agents and editors, and each other by dressing and conducting yourself accordingly. –Avily Jerome, Author and Editor for Havok Magazine
Do not pitch your manuscript to an editor or agent in the bathroom. Seriously. This has happened before and it’s so not a good way to impress them.
Be kind. You may disagree with a faculty member, or even another conferee, but be kind. Even in private. There’s way too much hate and disrespect in the world. We’re Christian brothers and sisters. We should be kind to each other. –Pam Halter, Author
Don’t get all writer-inspired and vanish back to your room, to disregard people and acquire word processor. I did that at a conference once. Resist! You can do plenty of that after the conference!
Have a quick pitch ready—outline of it memorized—for casual conversations and of course those editor meetings. Avoid starting with “it’s a fantasy where,” “it’s a …”, or “in a world …”. Start with the main character’s full name. Move to what he/she wants, what happens to him/her, a little about the setting, and what he/she starts doing to overcome that obstacle.
Do not, when asked, “What’s your favorite book this year?” say “My own, actually,” and then pitch it. (I once witnessed this during a breakfast table conversation at another conference.) –Stephen Burnett, Editor/Writer, Speculative Faith
If you’re pitching a novel, make sure you research the publisher before you meet them. If they have specific requirements, try to meet them as best as you can, since that will make your session with them go smoothly! And write down any questions for your pitch sessions ahead of time, so you can each make the most of the meeting.
If you meet someone who is proficient in an area of knowledge you’d like to know more about, don’t be afraid to ask them about it. Like you, we all have lives beyond Realm Makers, and people love to talk about their passions. So if you see that guy with that amazing sword that he made, ask him about it. I will bet you anything that he’s dying to share how he made it. –Amy Davis, Acquisitions Manager for Crosshair Press
Don’t forget to ask about others’ work as well as talking about your own. Beware the glazed stare. It’s your cue to change the subject. DO ask instructors, agents, publishers, and other faculty your burning questions! They are here to help. DON’T argue if you don’t like their answer. You are here to learn, not prove your point. –Katie Morford, Author and Editor at Crosshair Press
Do unto others. Seriously, think about it – would you want someone talking over the speaker or letting their phone chime repeatedly over the talks? Probably not. Mute your phone, take conversations outside of speaker sessions, don’t say anything rude about someone else. –Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Author
As I’m putting this post together, I’m reminded of a few more Do’s and Don’ts to consider.
- DO be on time to your scheduled appointments.
- DON’T go over your time limit for appointments. Be respectful of the next attendees time.
- DON’T be afraid to ask questions of the staff. We are there to help you, whether you need to find the restroom, change your appointments, or want us to point out a particular agent/editor/author so you can put a face to a name.
- DO get involved–in conversations, in the conference, in the community of writers. (Yes, this goes beyond just the 3 days of the physical conference)
We’re looking forward to a successful conference!