Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Volunteer at Conferences

The PennWriters Conference was brilliant this weekend. I learned a lot and met some really great people, which I will continue talking about on this blog and on Working Stiffs tomorrow.

But today, it's about a tip. When you attend conferences, which you absolutely should if you can, get more out of them by volunteering. Working the registration table ensures you meet everyone, including agents, editors, and published authors, as they walk in the door.

Introducing presenters gives you more face time with them. Offering to timekeep pitch sessions gives you face time with agents.

PennWriters has a great opportunity to PennPal with presenters, agents and editors. I was PennPal to Alex Glass of Trident Media Group. It was a pleasure. Alex is very funny, and he boosted my ego by needing me more than some other PennPals needed their counterparts. I found myself wandering the hotel by his side to try and get him in the right place.

He offered great advice to writers in his presentation, and it was a pleasure getting to know him even a little better.

The only guarantee you have to selling your writing is by making it shine. Work on your craft and polish your pages. But, volunteering at conferences adds value to your overall experience. There are usually several opportunities, so next time you attend a conference, reach out to those in charge and offer to help in some way.

For more on the value of interacting with agents in person, check out this great blog post from Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner.


  1. I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience this year. I wish I could have been there.

  2. You're exactly right about this!

  3. It was nice meeting you at Pennwriters, Tamara. I pitched to Alex Glass and, yes he was great; asked a lot of good questions about my novel. Hope all is well with you and good luck with your writing. - Gunter