Monday, April 27, 2015

Make the Most of Post Conference

By Linda Rohrbough

You spent a lot of money and time, and you’ve made a lot of contacts. Hopefully you pitched, learned some stuff you didn’t know and made some friends on your way to your dream of publishing. So now what?

Now it’s time to cultivate those contacts. Not like someone who is trying to “use” those folks, rather as someone who is genuinely interested in them, and as a writing professional.

Nothing says “pro” more than hand-written thank-you notes. Yep, it’s dated. Yep, it’s old-fashioned. And yep, it’s a pain. (I type so much that handwriting is hard work for me.) But it makes an impression. When I’ve gotten handwritten notes after a conference, I’ve been impressed. I keep them and I have quite a few.

But you also need to use social media to stay in front of the person. Friend them on Facebook and like their posts once in a while. If someone sends me a handwritten note, and then I never hear from them again, on Facebook or anyplace else, I forget about them.

I can hear some of you saying, "What do I say?" That’s not hard. If you learned something, talk about it briefly. Maybe there’s something you admired about them. Or you can just say you enjoyed getting to know them. Sincere compliments go a long way.

And let’s not forget the hardworking people who put all of this together. When I speak, I send hand-written notes to the conference organizers thanking them for making my workshop a success. These folks hardly ever get thank you notes. But I can tell you, many of the big names in publishing do that same thing. And I know because I learned it from them. Most of them have been doing it for years, meaning before they became a “name.” In this business, it’s so much about relationships and it’s a very small world. So you want to be known as someone who is easy to work with and someone who can deliver the goods.

Now, just so you know, no one writes a thank you note to you because you sent a thank you note. So it’ll feel like you’re dropping these down a black hole. You’re not. Trust me.

In addition, email works. I don’t do email instead of handwritten notes, but I do use it.

So that’s a start.

The second thing is to get in there and use what you’ve learned. Think about the way the names presented themselves, how they talked about their work. Get the conference recordings and listen to them in your car. Immerse yourself in what you need to know. I do and even in workshops I attended, I found I hear things I missed the first time. And the exposure to the world of publishing helps me day to day as I’m slugging it out in the trenches. The successful writers make this a habit.

Finally, keep writing. Because that’s what it’s all about.


About the Author: Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for her fiction and non-fiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." The Prophetess One: At Risk has garnered three national awards: the 2012 International Book Award, the 2011 Global eBook Award, and the 2011 Millennium Star Publishing Award. An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.