So how are you conference attendees doing?
Has your brain turned to mush? Do you feel like bells are ringing in your head? You can’t stop yawning and you’d give a small fortune for a nap? Yep, you were operating in overload.
And maybe some of you who stayed home feel the same way. LOL I mean life can be just as much of an overload as a conference.
So let’s talk how we can organize so we don’t lose all of that information. Conference attendees, you have a huge canvas bag full of information. Those of us at home, I bet you have a pile of the same types of things somewhere on your desk or shoved in a drawer in your office.
Well now what do you do with all of that information? How do you organize it so you can remember what you gleaned, learned, who you met, etc. And for non-conference attendees, you can use these same skills for that pile in your office.
(Admit it. You have one. I know you do. Smile)
I hope you collected business cards. Right now. First thing to do is go through those now and write on the back as much information as you can remember about that person.
DO IT NOW!
If you don’t write down this information you will wonder who these people are when you come across the cards next month or next year. It may already be too late. Most important are the networking contacts. If an editor gave you his/her card and wants you to submit a manuscript, then be sure you write down as much info about that person as you can remember. It will come in handy if you start working with that person.
As you do this, make piles to organize:
Piles such as:
Authors that write in your Genre
Authors you met
Professional services ( you may want to divide this further with line edits, graphic arts, formatting, publicity, etc.)
I bought a box that fits business cards like a mini file drawer and have tabs with those titles. Then when I need to find an editor I met, I go right to that tab. I have boxes for each year so I can find them by year. Sometimes I file them by event, i.e. RWA 2015 conference or ACFW 2014 conference.
I have a friend who puts her cards in a 3 hole plastic business card holder that displays them like photos. She puts them in a binder with tab pages that divide the categories listed above. This is very easy to use and see.
If you’re tech savvy you can use one of those cool machines that file your business cards and receipts electronically. You can find those at Staples, Office Max or Office Depot or online.
If you did not attend the conference, I bet you do have a collection of business cards you have collected at author signings, workshops, or visits to a publishing house. Feel free to mention in comments other ways you’ve collected them.
If you don’t have many business cards yet, be prepared and one step ahead of the game. Get yourself set up with a system because these are some of the best networking contacts you will make. You don’t want them ending up in a corner of a drawer or in a shoebox under the bed, forgotten and unused.
Expenses and Receipts
Your conference expenses are tax deductible. Please don’t wait until next April to grab all your receipts and then try and remember what they are for. This definitely applies to all writers whether at a conference or not. Anytime you incur an expense that can be deducted for your writing career, keep good records.
DO IT NOW!
File those receipts in an organized fashion. Whether you use a spreadsheet, an account page, a three ring binder. Just do it. Write down expenses for everything and organize them by the categories on your tax return. Such as:
Clothing bought for the conference
Organize those right away before you forget what you heard. File your notes and put the workshops in order of preference.
DO IT NOW!
Which workshops helped you with craft skills?
Which workshops gave you insights into editors and publishers? Or Agents?
Which workshops introduced you to fellow writers?
Nowadays, most conferences offer CD’s of the workshops. Even if you don’t attend the conference, you can obtain a conference CD and listen to the workshops. I highly recommend this. Some local RWA chapters buy the CD for their chapter library and members who were not able to attend can check out the CD. Some authors get together with writer friends and split the cost of a CD.
I always bought the CD’s even when I went to the conference. Then I could sit back in the quiet of my office, when my brain isn’t in overload and really get something out of those workshops. During the conference, I was too busy networking and meeting with writer friends that we normally only talked to online. Those CD’s were lifesavers.
Yep, even organize these. If you’re like me, you mailed home boxes of books. Now the trick is to sort them. Put them in order of preference. Place those you aren’t really interested in a box to take to your next RWA meeting. They will make great raffle prizes.
First order of preference:
Stack the books by the publishing house you are targeting in the first pile. Surely you obtained books from that publisher. If you didn’t go to the conference, you should have a pile of books you’ve purchased that are published by the publisher you are targeting. These should be on the top of the TBR pile.
DO IT NOW!
Anyone want to tell us why??? You get your name in the book bag twice if you tell us a good reason we do this.
Bookmarks and other Swag:
I’m always amazed at how many bookmarks there are. I look all of them over and place them in piles as samples of artwork, layout, what worked for me, what didn’t work.
And of course use the bookmarks of your favorite authors to mark your place in their books. Smiling.
Go through the swag that you liked. What swag seemed popular?
Categorize the swag in order of preference for future reference when you want to produce some swag of our own.
DO IT NOW!
Write thank you notes or letters:
This is becoming a lost art, but think of all the work that has been going on to provide this wonderful conference.
Editors and agents have donated their time to meet you and listen to your pitch. Please write a thank you note to every editor and agent with whom you had an appointment . This courtesy will not only be greatly appreciated, but will help them remember who you are among the multitude of people they have just met.
Write a thank you letter to the chairperson and the staff of whatever organization put on the conference. The work they do behind the scenes is awesome. Let them know you appreciate it.
Last but not least, please take a nap.
You need to kick back for a day or two and let your body, mind and spirit stabilize.
Meditate and let all you learned sink in.
Bet I don’t have to tell you to do this one now. LOL
Please share with us other helpful things to do after the conference. I get some of my best ideas from your comments, so please share.
COFFEE SHOP ROMANCES
HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS. If you already have copies, the winner can send us the kindle addie of a friend and they will get the prize.
I’ve been helping my cousin in San Diego and she has tomato plants and her own avacado trees. Look at this yummy snack I’m laying out for you. I call it my special BLTA (Bacon, lettuce, tomato and avacado) The fixings are on a platter so add what you want and DO IT NOW.