10 Ways to Prepare for a Writer's Conference

I’ll be attending the San Francisco Writers Conference this weekend. In fact, this year I’ll be presenting a talk on blogging a book –come hear me speak on Sunday! A lot of people I know will be there pitching their books and attending classes to learn how to attract a traditional publishing deal or to create a successful self-published book.I’ve attended the conference or worked as a volunteer for six years or so.

Attending a conference may be the best investment a writer can make in his or her career. However, if you go unprepared, you may not get much out of that investment. So, here is a list of things to do to prepare yourself for the experience:

  1. Show up well rested.
  2. Bring a pad of paper and lots of pens or pencils.
  3. Bring a tape recorder.
  4. Bring lots of business cards.
  5. Bring a one-page book proposal (agents and editors don’t typically accept a full book proposal)
  6. Prepare and practice your pitch.
  7. Dress professionally.
  8. Be prepared for opportunities, such as a chance to get a professional photo taken (for the cover of your book or for your website), to speak with a book editor, to pitch to an agent, etc.
  9. Have a copy of your book proposal or manuscript handy for editing sessions or ask-a-pro sessions
  10. Check the schedule prior to arrival so you have a good idea what you may need for all occasions and what you plan on doing and hearing while at the conference.

Then relax and enjoy yourself. Be prepared to learn a lot. Don’t expect yourself to remember it all. Do intend to go home and put as much of what you learned to use.

Profile photo of Nina Amir About Nina Amir

Nina Amir, the Inspiration to Creation Coach, inspires writers and bloggers to create published products and careers as authors. Additionally, she helps her clients and readers achieve their potential, fulfill their purpose and make a positive and meaningful difference with their words. She is the author of How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual, and Creative Visualization for Writers, all published by Writer’s Digest Books. As a hybrid author, she also has published 17 books independently. She is a nonfiction book editor and doctor, proposal consultant, and an Author Coach and Trainer as well as a Book and Blog Coach. Some of her clients have sold 320,000+ copies of their books and been published by major publishing houses. Nina also is an award winning blogger and journalist, international speaker and founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, also known as the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge, and the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Also a Certified High Performance Coach, Nina strives to help creative people Achieve More Inspired Results personally and professionally.


  1. Great post, Nina! Looking forward to seeing you at the event. I’m speaking at three different sessions!

    Two items to add to your post:
    – Ditch your friends so you can meet as many new people as possible (you never know who you might have a connection for you!).

    – Wear comfortable shoes!
    : )

    • Thanks, Stephanie! Great comment, but I’d add to make a plan with your friends to attend different sessions. Then check in later to compare notes and learn from each other. That way you get even more bang for your buck!

      Looking forward to seeing you at the SFWC, too. It’s always a pleasure!

  2. Excellent post! If conferences are taping sessions, as the SFWC does as a fundraiser, they may not want attendees to tape them. But you provide a lot of good advice, which every writer should read before attending a conference.

    • Thanks, Mike! A tape recorder comes in handy for other reasons…such as when sitting across from me during a book doctor session!

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