Conference News

Conference is Over – Now What?

The writer’s conference you just attended was AMAZING, but now what do you do? Here are a few tips to make the most of your experience.

After You Get Home

Don't forget to write!
  • Give yourself a day off, at least from writing-related tasks. Your brain will process your experience even if you’re not consciously chasing after it. Unpack, do laundry, get settled.  Go to your day job if you must. But give your brain a rest from conference things, let your mind have a day to process.
  • After a day or two of rest, followup with the contacts you made. You’re recharged, and ready to reach out.
    • Remember how I said to have a system for all those business cards/contact info you collected during the conference?  Here is where that organization pays off. You should have, all in one place, contact information, and notes about how you intended to followup.  Now is the time to send those emails or texts, make anticipated phone calls, or get something in snail mail (yes, some people still do that). You’re a professional, so of course you’re following through in a timely manner.  Well done!
  • You took a lot of notes during Conference, didn’t you? Review all that fantastic information you nearly drowned in just a couple of days ago. Summarize what you’ve learned. Taking the time to do this now will help you retain what matters most. Jot down an action list, a book-buying list, a “must-try-this” list as you go along.
  • Head over to the websites of those you met – read blogs and leave comments.  Write a review. Connect on social media. Stay in touch and nurture the new professional connections you made.
  • Shoot off a few emails, leave comments on websites, engage with those you met. The relationships you build now may have impact on your writing career later.
  • And finally, if you had a good experience, let the organizers know.  Participate in surveys, so they can further improve their event next year. Consider volunteering to help out at future events. Become active in your local writing community.

Most important of all? Don’t forget to write!


Editor’s Note: A huge thank you to everyone who attended PPWC2019! We hope you had as much fun as we did! Please remember to fill out the survey you will receive shortly. Also, please consider volunteering for PPWC2020. It is a wonderful way to give back to the writing community!


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Contributing Editor with Writing From the Peak, writes all manner of fiction and nonfiction. Visit her website, find her on Facebook, and instagram orcontact her at gvbrownwriter@gmail.com

It’s Conference Time!

Pikes Peak Writer's Conference 2019. It Takes a Tribe.

You’ve made the decision to up the ante and forward your writing career by attending a conference – good for you! You’ve got your spot reserved, your travel and lodging are booked, and your first writers’ conference is just around the corner. How can you get the most out of the time and money you’ve invested?

A bit of planning will go a long way to a successful writers’ conference whether this is your first or fifteenth. Here are a few items to get you started on the right track.

Before the Conference:

  • Make sure your business cards are accurate and reflect the genre you write in. If you don’t have business cards, get some, pronto. Remember, this is a professional conference, and professionals have business cards. You can make your own or use an affordable online service such as VistaPrint.com, zazzle.com, or MOO.com. Business cards should have, at the least, your email address, your website, and handles for your professional (not personal) social media.
  • Speaking of social media, how’s your online presence? You should assume that least a few of the people you meet will check our your site or your social media. If you haven’t posted a blog in several months, take a bit of time to put something current on your page. Same for your social media – put up a post or gram or tweet or two!
  • Identify your expectations and goals to maximize your conference experience. Review the workshops and events offered, and put together a game plan. Check the conference website for a schedule and decide where you want to be for each time block. I like to print the schedule out ahead of time and mark it up with highlighters.
  • Take some time to review conference and event maps. You’ll spend less time trying to locate where your next workshop is.  Less time navigating means more time networking.
  • Perfect your elevator pitch. Even if you don’t have a finished novel, you can describe what you write and why you’re at the conference in a few sentences. Practice your pitch in front of the mirror.  Get feedback, make it just right, and then memorize it. That way, when the big-deal New York agent makes eye contact or your favorite best-selling author smiles at you, you’ve got effective words at the ready. Even if your heart is pitter-patting and your brain has frozen.
  • Research workshop presenters and keynotes, particularly the ones leading sessions you’ll be attending. Check out  their websites and social media.  Google them. You’ll be more comfortable interacting with them, and who knows, you may have something in common!
  • Bring copies of your synopsis; you never know who may want to take a look.

Pack Smart:

  • Pack business casual clothes, and plan on layers. Hotels and conference centers have notoriously unpredictable climate control systems, and you’ll be thankful you can don or remove that cardigan or blazer as needed.
  • Bring a refillable water bottle. You’ll be more alert if you’re hydrated. I also pack a few protein-rich snacks such as trail mix or jerky, to satisfy a growling tummy without the carb crash from the candy on the meeting tables.
  • Make sure you have note-taking supplies in your arsenal. Some writers prefer a notebook and pen, some would rather tap into a tablet or laptop. I usually bring both paper and electronic. I also throw in a highlighter for marking handouts and a sharpie, just in case my favorite author’s runs out right when I get to the front of the book-signing line.
  • You can bring a book or two, but don’t expect to have time to read. These will be for obtaining author signatures. But don’t bring more than a couple, better to purchase some at the event bookstore – thus supporting both the author and the conference.
  • Chargers and battery packs will make your life easier – no running up to your room because an important device is dead.  Many conferences now offer charging stations in meeting rooms, but don’t count on it.
  • Make sure you’ve got something to hold your gear while traveling from session to session. A backpack, tote, or attache should do. Consider putting an extra tote in your suitcase, because you’re going to have to get that bookstore bounty back up to your room somehow. And then home!
  • Bring workout wear, running gear, or a swimsuit. Moving your body helps keep you alert and energized, and you’ll appreciate it after spending many hours in windowless, fluorescent lit meeting rooms.
  • Make sure you have got lip balm, mints, tissues and ibuprofen/acetaminophen with you wherever you go. Not only will you ensure your own comfort, but you’ve got instant networking/icebreaking tools at your ready.  Pop a mint and offer one – easy engagement for even the most introverted. And it’s great to be the hero who has headache medicine to share when someone staggers in looking for relief after too much bar-con networking last night.
  • If you have a book, for sure bring marketing materials – bookmarks, postcards, pencils, whatever. There’s often a freebie table where you can place these items for perusal and pickup by other attendees.

At the Writers’ Conference

  • Take lots of notes, buy a book and have it signed, ask questions and be flexible.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities. Talk to presenters in between sessions (be respectful of their time, they may be in a hurry). Engage with other attendees at meals. Stop by the lobby/bar area in the evening after sessions are over. You don’t need to be a drinker to attend bar-con, and you may get some quality, less formal face-to-face time with someone you’d been wanting to meet. You’ve make an investment in time and money to be here; take advantage of these opportunities.
  • Be generous with those business cards, and collect contact information from those you meet. Have a system (beyond stuffing their business cards in your back pocket) for keeping track of who you talk with. I keep a small notebook with a pocket just for this – cards go in the pocket and I make a note of why I have that card.  Not everyone may give you a card – you may get an email address from a presenter, or a phone number for texting. Whatever it is, get it down. You’ll be glad you did!
  • It isn’t unusual to be overwhelmed, especially at larger conferences. Give yourself permission to skip a session and head up to your room for decompression time. Or go for a walk, get outdoors and breathe in some fresh air and sunshine and quiet. You’ll be ready to head back in after a bit. Lots of us are introverts, we get the need to be away from the crowd now and then.
  • Don’t feel you must attend every single session, unless of course that is a requirement of the event you’re attending. You know what you hope to get out of this conference, plan your time accordingly. Missing a session because you ended up in a long post-lunch conversation doesn’t mean you’re not getting value from that time.
  • And most of all, enjoy yourself!  How often do you get to hang out with so many people who share your passion for the written word  You want to go home with some warm fuzzy memories.  Maybe you can write them into your latest work!

So spend a little time preparing before you head off to that Writer’s Conference.  You’ll be glad you did!

Pikes Peak Writing Conference is May 3-5, 2019. Registration is open until April 28th! See you there!!


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog

Gabrielle V. Brown, Contributing Editor with Writing From the Peak, writes all manner of fiction and nonfiction. Visit her website ,find her on Facebook, and instagram ; contact her at gvbrownwriter@gmail.com

Volunteer for PPWC 2019

Thanks to our members who have stepped up. At this time, all of the large and medium volunteer positions have been filled for 2019. But we’re always looking for people who want to shadow our chairs, learn the ropes and position themselves for expanded responsibilities in the future.  In an organization run completely by volunteers, we’re always looking for more volunteers to share the work so that the work doesn’t always fall to a few uber-dedicated people.   What can you do next year?  Moderate a workshop, put up signs, help with publicity, support our fundraising efforts, drive faculty, stuff bags, staff the registration desk, help in the ballroom, help in the bookstore, become part of the Tech Team and more. We always need help in these areas as well as many more. So contact our Volunteer Coordinator at ppwcvolunteer@pikespeakwriters.com to see what positions might still be open now as well as our needs for 2020.

New Proposal Portal

The new Proposal Portal is now open for business! If you’d like to propose workshops for the annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference or for our non-conference events, please go here. Please note: we are now using Submittable for this process, so you will need to set up a Submittable account to get started. It’s free and fast, so get those creative juices flowing and get your proposals in! We are accepting proposals for the conference through Sept. 30th, but will accept proposals for Write Brains and half-day workshops any time.

Who wants to help us gear up for the 2019 Pikes Peak Writers Conference?

Who wants to help us gear up for the 2019 Pikes Peak Writers Conference?

We need volunteers at all levels, with jobs large and small. Some require a high comfort level for interacting with the public, and some are well out of the limelight.

Two of the more substantial jobs are Conference Admin and Registrar. The Admin is essential to helping the conference come together, working with the directors, making sure communication if flowing and deadlines are being met. The Registrar oversees every aspect of registration, from using software to design the registration form  to answering registration questions from attendees.

Other jobs include Signs Coordinator, Survey Coordinator and Reg Desk Coordinator. All three require the ability to work well with others, solicit and compile information from directors, and attention to detail. Signs and Surveys have less public contact, but the Reg Desk has a great deal, so we need a real extrovert (or someone who can play one for a weekend).

Brochure Design means we need someone with graphic skills and excellent attention to detail to help construct the brochure to advertise the conference. This could also extend to helping build the conference program.

Tech Team Coordinator will wrangle all our techies, the people in each workshop room who make sure the laptops are playing nicely with the projectors. Must be able to work with a variety of people and have good team-leading skills.

Onsite Volunteer Coordinator is exactly what it sounds like! We get lots of people who want to help, and we need someone to coordinate what, when and where the needs are, and assign volunteers to the tasks.

Allergy Meal Coordinator tracks attendee allergy requests from the registration form, and coordinates with the hotel chef and Green Room Coordinator.

Handouts Coordinator takes all the handouts from faculty, via the Programming Director, and puts them together in a semblance of order. Then oversees distribution to attendees.

Scholarship Coordinator will gather scholarship applications, build a scholarship committee, and work with that committee to distribute scholarship funds for conference.

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact the 2019 Conference Director, Laura Hayden, at Conference@pikespeakwriters.com.

 

Time Change for Stitch, Pitch and Color

The open session with Sourcebooks editor, Deb Werksman, entitled Stitch, Pitch and Color will still be held on Thursday evening in the Ascent Library.  However, the time has changed to 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.  Bring your knitting, coloring books and questions and join Deb for an informal, friendly session of crafts and answers.

We have a new keynote

Bob Mayer has graciously agreed to fill in as a keynote speaker for PPWC 2018.  You’ll love this guy.  Bob Mayer is a New York Times bestselling author, a graduate of West Point, former Special Operations, and the feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets.  Be sure to register now (lower registration price is good until March 30th).

Jim Butcher will be unable to attend this year’s PPWC

It is with much regret that we announce Jim Butcher has notified us that he will be unable to attend the 2018 Pikes Peak Writers Conference.  We are searching for a replacement but at this late date, that’s almost impossible.

However, we still have three other fantastic keynote speakers and lots of friendly editors and agents and knowledgeable authors who will be here to spend time with you.

The registration price goes up on March 16 so register now!!  It will be worth it.

DO IT!  Don’t quit!

A Peek at all the PPWC Extras

PPWC has always offered a full 3-days of workshops and activities.  This year we’re offering even more.  Take a peek:

Thursday night, April 26 at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Library, editor Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks will be offering “Stitch, Pitch and Color” free to all conference attendees.  You can color with her, pitch your book, work on your crocheting and discuss the business of writing.  You don’t want to miss this!

Saturday evening, April 28 from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m., we’ll once again offer “Write Drunk, Edit Sober.”  For an extra charge of $25, you can fill one of the 40 slots available in the library to sample beer and write to prompts offered by the wonderful Deb Courtney.  Then on Sunday morning, take the workshop to edit what you’ve written and see how you can take your work even further.

There will be a get-together offered for current and previous Zebulon (or any other incarnation of the PPWC contest) winners on Saturday, April 28 at 6:00 p.m. in Eagles Nest.  This is a chance for all winners to share their experiences in the writing world and network on how best to proceed.

Damon Smithwick will once again host the Open Mic session on Friday night, April 27, after dinner (9:00 p.m.) in Aspen Leaf.  This is a good time to get your work before others.

The Newcomer’s Orientation will be offering both Friday and Saturday mornings in Eagles Nest at 8:00 a.m.  Learn what to do and what not to do and how to get the most out of your conference experience.

Circle this on your schedule now.  A booksigning featuring all PPWC faculty will be offered in Aspen Leaf on Saturday from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m.  It will be open to the public as well for those fans of Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, Mary Robinette Kowal and Laurell Kaye Hamilton.

Our Flash Fiction Contest will start Friday after an announcement at lunch with all entries turned in before dinner on Saturday.  The winner will be announced at Sunday lunch.

Handouts will be free this year but only available in soft copy.  A URL will be made available before conference so you can download and print off those handouts you want in hard copy.

Our on-site fund-raising for the PPWC Scholarship Fund will offer two special ways to help out.  Buy a $10 pen and win a prize valued from $10 and up.  Or go on a “Blind Date with a Book” by offering a donation to select a book based on its brown paper cover.

Can’t wait to see you at PPWC 2018!!