Before I begin, allow me to invite you to join me for a #YAvengers Twitter chat this evening at 7pm Pacific Daylight Time. (That is 10pm Eastern.) Come with your questions about publishing, agents, editors, self-pub, and what have you. We will do our best to answer your questions and direct you to appropriate research in whatever regard you require.
Now, being that is it conference season, and my alter-ego had the privilege of attending one recently, I thought it would be beneficial to all if we speak on this topic.
With regards to conferences, you, as writers, should be aware of the differences between various types. There are conferences with classes to help you improve your craft, panels to give you perspective or advice from published authors/agents/editors, classes geared toward librarians, booksellers, agents, editors, etc.
If you are unpublished, you should be focused on your writing craft. Some conferences are geared more toward the sellers (bookstores, libraries, publishers, reviewers) but until you have a book to sell, you should learn as much as you can about what you are doing. Always seek to grow and improve.
|Side note - always bring snacks.|
There are many lists of tips and tricks for meeting agents and editors, do's and do-not's, and the truth is, there is no hidden secret to doing this. However, through her experience, my alter-ego has one simple rule for you to follow:
You're either going to be nervous, or you're not. There's not much you can do to change that. What you can do, is let yourself behave the way you would with any other random stranger. Be polite, (don't shove your manuscript in their face) and don't pause what you're doing just because an agent or editor is in your vicinity or even talking to you. They love books as much as you do. They do this because they love authors and stories. They love working with words.
The first time you meet an agent, you'll probably freeze. If you're anything like my alter-ego. But if you push through it and be yourself, you'll showcase your personality in the best way. And you never know, you just might draw someone's attention.