Thinking of going to a Writing Conference? Raquel Reyes, author of JEWELER’S MARK, will tell you how to make the most of a conference. Welcome to Mystery Mondays and another fun filled blog.
Networking Pointers by R. V. Reyes
Why should you go to writers conferences? There are many answers to that question, but for me, the best answer is networking. Yes, one also goes to better one’s craft or to hear the headlining guest of honor. And you will get both those things just by attending and sitting in your seat. But if you want to get the most from the conference then you need to go in prepared to network.
I attend SleuthFest in South Florida. The conference is three days of panels, mini- workshops, and demonstrations. There are four tracks: beginning craft, advanced craft, career advancement, and forensics. An add-on called “Third-Degree Thursday” is offered that provides more in-depth workshops. Put on by the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, it is volunteer run with a twenty-plus year history. This will be my third year as a volunteer and since I am a chapter member I’m also on the planning committee. But before I was behind the scenes, I attended several times as a newbie knowing no one. The people I met those first years are in my network to this day and have provided me with support, advice, back-cover blurbs, agent leads, commiseration, hope, and laughter. When you network at a conference the results are long lasting.
Here are my tips for networking.
Introduce yourself to your neighbor. “Hi, I’m Raquel. Is this your first SleuthFest?”
Curb your ego. Or rather let the other person speak. You’re having a conversation not selling a car.
Be confident in where you are in your career. Don’t worry if you are not published yet. Be honest. Try this: I’m a beginning writer or my work-in-progress is a suspense set in Glasgow. This year I’ll be saying, “I’ve recently published my first full-length cozy, Jeweler’s Mark.”
Have business cards with your name, e-mail, website, social media accounts, and some unique identifier. Mine say Latina Mysteries as all my stories have a Latina protagonist.
Have your elevator speech or log-line at the ready. “A Miami jewelry designer runs into the Russian mafia, murder, counterfeiting and romance while trying to save her brand and best friend.”
Give yourself opportunities to meet people. At SleuthFest there are plenty. 101 Dinner, Mystery Trivia at the bar, Agents & Editors cocktail party, the coffee stand in the bookstore— Don’t run to your room and hide whenever there is a break in the schedule.
Respect the headlining authors, agents, and editors. They are there to meet you but not while they are reading the morning news in a quiet corner of the lobby. Wait until they are mingling at an event then introduce yourself. Sometimes, they’re the first one to break the ice. One time, I was in the hot tub and didn’t know I was sharing it with an agent and her fiancé until she made introduces.
Volunteer. Not only will you be helping the sponsoring organization but you’ll be meeting people by default. Example, volunteering at the registration table guarantees you will know people’s names and they will remember your face.
Relax. When you are genuine, authentic relationships develop. You will find your tribe.
I hope you’ll attend SleuthFest. It’s a quality conference and you won’t meet a friendly group of people anywhere. Plus, I hear South Florida is lovely in February. You’ll find me behind the registration table or milling about selling raffle tickets. Find me and introduce yourself. I’ll be wearing a pink boa.
WHO IS RAQUEL REYES?
R.V. Reyes lives in Miami, Florida with a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a husband, and one delightfully, snarky teen. Like the protagonist in her Love & Diamonds Mystery series, she works in her family’s jewelry business. When not crunching numbers there, she interviews other Florida Authors on her blog, Cozy in Miami.
Gigi Santos, wedding ring designer and diamond appraiser, is looking forward to her ten-year high school reunion. She is trying to be a better, less gossipy person, but Lourdes, her BFF since forever, has not matured past teenage pettiness. Cover boy–handsome Detective Carlos Garcia comes into the picture to investigate a year-old burglary at Gigi’s jewelry business. They flirt, and sparks fly. Gigi is sure she will have him on her arm as her reunion date. That is, until her BFF becomes the prime suspect in the murder of the reunion’s organizer. Gigi knows Lourdes is innocent and she is determined to prove it. When Gigi’s sleuthing puts her and the people she loves in danger, Detective Garcia tries to keep her out of harm’s way. But she wants a date, not a hero. Will Gigi and Carlos dance under the Miami moonlight? Or will fake diamond rings send them all to jail? Find out in the first of the Love and Diamonds mysteries.
Where to find out more about Raquel:
Book Links: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1536939501