Prep Work for the Win

by Melissa Borg
August 12, 2021

This year has been flying by fast and I have made an effort to focus on the business aspects of writing. You know the actions that most creative types hate like planning, budgeting, marketing, and such. One of the ways to learn more about the writing business is to go to a writer's conference. I've gone to conferences for my day job, but only one writing specific one. The conference was about a decade ago and it had been a spur-of-the-moment attendance. This time, I'm doing lots of prep to make sure I get the most out of it.

I found and read a handful of conference tip articles. It seemed fairly silly to do this step since it's not my first business conference. Nevertheless, I'm glad I took the time. I stumbled across a few interesting things I wouldn't have thought of like an app to help keep track of business cards. The app is now downloaded onto my phone and I've tested it out. It is a very simple app called Lens by Microsoft. I take a picture of the card and the app pulls out the text information in the form of a contact card, which I can store on a OneNote page or in my phone as a contact.

Speaking of keeping track of business cards, I designed new business cards. Since this conference will be happening in a few months, I even embedded the card with QR codes for both my website and book sales page so if people don't want to touch/take a card, they don't have to do so.

Hopefully, the thrice try is the winner for me and this conference. In 2019, I had to cancel the night before the first day of the conference due to family illness. That was a hard decision but I said no worries, I'll go the next year. Well, you know what happened to all plans for 2020.

A glass with beads in it, shattered with beads and glass shards flying.
2020 the destroyer of plans

For this fall's conference, the tentative speaker and session schedule are posted. I downloaded the conference app, made my profile, and dove into the breakout offerings. Plus, I Googled and social media stalked *cough* I mean researched the presenters' websites and backgrounds.

Of course, I completed the most important thing, which is to have a designated conference notebook to keep all the research and information in one place. It's nice to have a place to jot down a list of things I'm going to do while there to keep me organized and things to do directly after the conference.

On my list still-yet-to-do, is to order a custom face mask with my author logo and book cover on the front. Hey, keeping germs away and be my own personal billboard, I'm in. I drafted a budget for the trip and created template nice-to-meet-you emails so I am prepped and ready to keep connected with the people I want to work with in the future. Whew, I need a nap.

Now fingers crossed that COVID doesn't shut down the world again during the conference.

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