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Monday, May 14, 2012

Guestpost: "Conference Appointments Made Simple" by Patti Sheene

Please welcome Patti Sheene.
Patti’s passion is to mentor young writers. As Vice President of Written World Communications, she supervises the company’s YA division. She serves as Executive Editor to Starsongs Magazine, a general market publication for kids by kids ages 9-19.  A retired RN and “over 50 writer” herself, she also encourages and admires writers whose careers have commenced or blossomed later in life. Patti is published in Gary Chapman and James Stuart Bell’s Love is a Verb Devotional. She has had work accepted for their soon to be published anthology Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters: Real-Life Stories of Supernatural Events.

Conference Appointments Made Simple
The airline ticket has been purchased and the weight goal that makes you look smashing in that new outfit reached. Emails brimming with anticipation arrive from writer friends you haven’t seen for months. Conference season is in full swing and you’re caught up in the excitement and anticipation of realizing unfulfilled dreams.

Yet, your stomach churns and your hands tremble at the thought of those fifteen minutes with the one editor you’ve wanted to meet for months, maybe even years. Let me share a few tips to help calm the queasiness, put you in control, and simplify what can appear to be a daunting experience. 

Smile! Don’t approach your appointment as though you are headed to the dentist’s chair! Editors are human too. A smile exudes confidence and puts both of you at ease.
Introduce yourself. Even though a list is available to the editor, appointments are sometimes shifted. Be sure the editor knows who he is speaking with from the start of the meeting.
Make your intentions known. Explain why you chose to speak to that particular editor. Have questions prepared and easily accessible. Are you pitching a manuscript for a specific book imprint or simply seeking general information about the publishing house?
 Provide paper. Present the editor with something visual, such as a one-sheet that contains the maximum information attractively arranged in a minimum amount of space. Don’t expect her to keep it. Paper adds weight to luggage and can be cumbersome to manage. Email is more convenient.
Listen! Pay attention to what the editor tells you. Has he expressed an interest in your work or referred you to someone else who can better meet your needs? Have you been asked to provide further information? Make notes to ensure follow through. File business cards where they can be easily found after the conference.
Express your appreciation Thank the editor for her time, even if she is unable to use the work you presented. Recognition of her efforts builds a positive relationship for future contact.

These simple tips can serve to fix your name in your dream editor’s brain long after the meeting concludes.

Happy conferencing!