Take Yourself Seriously, Or No One Else Will: Surviving a Writer’s Conference

The attendees on the Writer’s Digest Conference Facebook group ask all manner of questions about how to promote themselves:

Do I need business cards?

What is appropriate to dress?

Should I have a blog?

The group was created by the conference organizers to give a space for attendees to ask questions, share information, and connect with one another before the conference.

And while the questions vary, many people want the same thing: they want to be noticed.

To be noticed you have to take yourself seriously, or no one else will.

Dress like a boss. If you dress like a professional, then you’re more likely to be treated like a professional. Some of the people at the conference are themselves professionals in the industry. First impressions and how you present yourself matters.

If you dress like you rolled out of bed twenty minutes before the opening session and didn’t look in the mirror and its laundry day, then in the mind of everyone you meet, that’s the kind of writer you’ll be.

Take yourself seriously, or no one else will.

Get business cards like a boss. Even if you just go to a conference to learn something new, chances are you will meet at least one person who can help you. Make it as easy as possible for them to connect with you. For something that doesn’t cost very much, it goes a long way in making you look 10 times more professional.

And unless you’re a crack graphic designer, don’t overdo the design. Keep it simple.

(Tip: If you talk to a lot of people, then you collect a lot of cards. You might not remember everyone after the conference tornado is over. After I meet someone I like to jot down something we talked about on their business card to jog my memory and mention it when I follow up with them.)

Take yourself seriously, or no one else will.

You strategize like a boss. You have the mindset of someone who runs a business: learning to manage yourself, your resources, and your time. Some attendees are researching speakers and agents, so they know ahead of time who they want to talk to. They are practicing and honing their pitch until it is perfect. You learn how to promote yourself, and you understand that it isn’t skeazy, because people won’t know what you’re about unless you tell them.

Take yourself seriously, or no one else will.

You have a platform, any kind of platform. You write for magazines. You recommend or review books. You write snarky tweets. You speak at conferences. You make it easier for people to find you and know your name.

If you want to be taken seriously, you have to start with yourself.

Are you attending the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York this weekend? Hit me up! jane [dot] endacott [at] gmail [dot] com

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