by Bethany Jett, @BetJett
The Blue Ridge Conference is truly a prestigious writers event. Not only will you learn from and get face-to-face time with bestselling and award-winning authors, editors, and agents, you get to hang out with them, too! Instead of a faceless name in their slush pile (the dreaded stack of submissions on their desk or inbox), you are a bright energetic professional writer ready to make their mark in the publishing world.
We are truly blessed to have an incredible group of men and women who are excited to lead fantastic workshops and can’t wait to meet with you. But, it can be nerve-wracking to meet with an agent, editor, or favorite author, so besides the fifteen-minute appointments, here are five ways to connect with the faculty.
1. Encourage them to “jump the line” at meals.
The faculty are instructed to skip ahead in the meal lines so that they have time to eat a little before everyone comes to their table to talk. However, cutting in line has been a no-no since grade school, so it can feel awkward to jump the line. You know, “no buts, no cuts, no alligator guts” and all that.
We want you to have the most chatting time as possible during mealtime, so if you see a faculty member, wave them over to get in front of you. Not only do you help ease their awkwardness, but now you get some extra time to talk to them. Win-win.
2. Sit at their table during meals.
The faculty have designated tables during lunch and dinner. Not all faculty come to breakfast, so it’s hit-or-miss for the first meal of the day. There are several meal opportunities, so if you don’t get with the faculty member of your choice on day one, don’t worry.
Meals are a great time to get to know the faculty on a more personal level, so feel free to ask business questions and get to know them, but save the pitch for your fifteen-minute appointment.
3. Respect their time.
The faculty at the Blue Ridge Conference are excited to help you grow as a writer and further your career. If you spot a faculty member between classes, it’s fine to talk to them. Keep in mind that the faculty member may be headed to teach a workshop or conduct an appointment, so he or she may not have time for an in-depth conversation.
4. Send a thank you note.
Thank you notes are always in style. If the situation calls for it, a “thank you for meeting with me” email can be a sweet and perhaps welcome diversion. A rule for thank you’s: don’t ask for anything. Feel free to remind them what you chatted about, but keep it short and sweet.
For example, a thank you email can be as simple as:
Hi Torry Martin,
I loved your new shoes—it was so cool that we matched that day. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. You gave me great advice and I appreciated your time.
If an editor or agent asked for you to send them a proposal or manuscript, don’t send it the first night you’re back home (unless specifically asked). Take some time to review your work, give it another edit, and let the agent or editor have some time to breathe. We’re still in the midst of “conference season,” so there is a lot of traveling and tons of submissions filling their inbox. Additionally, if you don’t hear back from him or her right away, wait a couple of weeks before following up.
Be sure to check out our faculty page so you can read the faculty bios, check out their workshops, and see what types of submissions they accept so you’re fully prepared. We’re getting close to conference time and we cannot wait to see you!
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Bethany Jett is an award-winning author, speaker, ghostwriter, and founder of JETTsetter Ink, a consulting and editing company. An avid learner, Bethany is working on her Master of Arts in Marketing: New Media and Communication. Her newest work, Through the Eyes of Hope is now available online and in retailers nationwide.
Bethany is a military wife and all-boys-mama who is addicted to suspense novels and all things girly. She writes on living a brilliant life at BethanyJett.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.