What to do AFTER You Get Home From a Writing Conference

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I’m still coming down off the high of the 2017 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and while not all of you were there with me, I think there’s some info here you can use. We all need to know how to prioritize our time after an event where we’ve met new folks. To help, I’m sharing this post to help you get organized.

The 2017 BRMCWC Conference gave us a great opportunity to network with professionals in our industry. I’m sure you all came home with a stack of business cards (I know I did). But you may be wondering how—or even if—you should keep the connections current. Here are some basic guidelines to help you on your way.

First, I’d spend some time on Facebook and Twitter. Take time to friend and follow those you met during the week. This is often the first line of getting to know someone. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want more friends or fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter. This is also a good way to network with your fellow attendees.

Second, Get ready to write…thank you notes and emails. If you met with someone or took a class or if they helped you, and you have their snail mail address, send them a note of thanks. If all you have is email, sent them a quick thank you that way. This will immediately help you stand out in their memory, and your grandmother would be proud!

Next, I’d look over my list of who asked me to submit something. Then, I’d take time to incorporate the things I learned at the conference. Then—and only then—I’d start sending requested material. Let me repeat—TAKE YOUR TIME SENDING THINGS IN. The biggest mistake writers make is submitting something before it’s ready.

You don’t have to worry about that editor or agent sitting at his desk with nothing to do. They have plenty to keep them busy and they’re not counting the hours until your submission comes in. As a matter of fact, I know of several who have turned down a submission because it was sent too soon after the conference because they didn’t think the writer had time to incorporate what they’d learned.

Important tips on sending submissions:

  • Make sure you spell the name of the person you’re sending the submission to correctly. I know it sounds basic, but you’d be surprised what we’ve heard.
  • If you’re sending an email put “Requested Material from 2016 BRMCWC Conference” in the subject line. This will keep your email submission from getting pushed into the slush pile.
  • If you’re mailing the submission write, “Requested Material: 2016 BRMCWC Conference” on the envelope for the reason mentioned above.
  • If you’re including a cover letter with a mailed submission or a brief email with an attachment, be sure to remind the editor/agent a little about your material. Many of the faculty meet with hundreds of new writers every conference season and there is no way they can remember everyone. So save us all a little embarrassment and include some history.
  • After you’ve sent your submission be ready to be patient. Don’t expect to receive a confirmation email or postcard, although some will do this. Don’t expect to hear back sooner than about three months. This is the busiest part of the conference season and many editors and agents are on the road more than they’re in the office. Give them some time to wade through all the paper work.
  • If you still haven’t heard anything after three months send a polite email inquiry. If they don’t answer, assume no. DO NOT call them and DO NOT risk being labeled a pest. This is a small industry and people talk.

Follow these tips and you’ll be able to navigate the minefields of industry etiquette.

What tips do you have for after the conference?

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and has been named to the 2017 Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. She’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “What to do AFTER You Get Home From a Writing Conference

  1. Edie, Great tips. I expect spiritual attacks and plan accordingly with extra prayer and Bible memorization. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 is my verse this year. “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” I also pray for my writer friends. I also pace myself, I did sprint out of the gate after a conference and end up exhausted, not finishing the project. I will complete my work in God’s strength and timing.
    I look forward to BRMCWC 2018

    • Cherrilynn your prayers are one of the sweet treasures that come from being friends with you! Thanks for dropping by, Blessings, E

  2. Thanks for such good advice! It is so very easy to feel overwhelmed after such a grand event. I’m loving connecting with all those writers I met/saw. You and Diann were marvelous directors. And yes, your Thank You Note is for sure “in the mail”….smile.

    • Lucinda, it truly is—whether we’re newbies or veterans! You’re such a precious part of BR, thank you! Blessings, E

  3. You are absolutely right about connecting with people we met on social media. Not only have a had some great discussions, but the momentum from all those Twitter chats have resulted in nearly 1000 new followers in a week! Not too shabby! I’m really enjoying the community in a new and encouraging way.

    • Joshua, that’s AWESOME!!!! Thanks for being such a great example of how to do it right! Blessings, E

    • Judy, it’s my pleasure and my passion to help other writers follow their dreams and calling! Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  4. Thank you for sharing, Edie. Very helpful advice. We’ve all come home with a big “to do” list, but for me, God’s gentle reminder of “to be” rises above the clatter of it all. Taking time out to hear his voice and receive his guidance is key. I’ve find it pays to consult the author. 😃 Blessings!