Sunday, May 15, 2011

Promotion - Conferences

My participation at the book signing at the OWFI conference

            The idea of promotion is to build a platform for oneself, give people a chance to know us and for our names to become familiar. Then, once we have a product or service, people will recognize the name, creating a “fan” base for our books, illustrations, service.

            One way to become better known is to attend writing conferences. “But,” you ask, “what would a conference offer me? How would attending bring notice to me?”

            Attending conferences not only gives writers, illustrators, and/or publishers a chance to learn more about their craft, but other people attend and are friendly – if we allow them to be and are friendly, too. How to make an impression without being obnoxious?

  1. Have business cards and/or book marks to give everyone.
  2. Make appointments with agents, publishers, and/or editors. Make a pitch or two.
  3. Take part in “buzz” sessions (informal gatherings with speakers and other experts to "talk")
  4. Ask questions in sessions.
  5. Visit with speakers outside their sessions.
  6. Introduce yourself and show an interest in the other people.
  7. Smile.
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask to join a group around a table if space is available.
  9. If the conference has a writing contest, enter.

            If the conference has a book room/store as part of its event and you have a book released, see if you can have your book(s) available for purchase. If the conference has a book signing time as part of its event and you have a book, participate. If you don’t have a book released yet, make the rounds and visit briefly with all the authors there.

            Not only are conferences available in most states, but some are held online. Of course one has to adapt the ways to make an impression a bit for an online conference, but generally the objective is the same: be friendly, ask questions, show an interest in the speakers and others. Rather than business cards and bookmarks, have links to blogs and websites. One online conference I recommend is the Muse Online Writers Conference.

            I not only attended but was a speaker at the OWFI (Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc.) writing conference the first full weekend of May. That conference is one of the less expensive ones with much to offer that I’ve found. OWFI has a 33 category competition, with a deadline of February 1. Usually judges give helpful suggestions which allow writers to improve their work. The judges don’t know the names of entrants, but category chairs and other learn, especially the names of those who place – excellent promotion. I have a pile of business cards given me, and I will use them for reference. I remember names of new friends and definitely those of people I met before. Also, more and more people recognize my name.

            Also, attending sessions that help us hone our craft is always good, and the better we are at what we do, the more others recognize us.

            For more about the OWFI conference recently, go to my blog at  Vivian Zabel.



  1. Very enlightening. I also followed the link you listed to your blog article at Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap. I enjoyed it very much. You made me feel as if I'd attended the OWFI conference.

  2. I know Oklahoma City is a far distance from many people, but those who can manage the trip maybe should look into the OWFI conference. Next year Steven James will be the keynote speaker, and he's rather well-known and a good writer.

  3. I rarely get to addend conferences, but if you are into the fantasy or science fiction genres, they usually have several panels and workshops for both authors and illustrators, too. Chances are, there is one near or in your town. Plus, volunteering to be a guest speaker often times get's you in for free.

  4. I value all the information here, but above all the fact that you need to be a bit brave in this world of publishing. Managing a family at home and taking a trip away from them is a challenge, but worth considering for all the benefits to a career if you are serious about your craft.

  5. I try to attend a combination of at least four book festivals and conferences a year. So far I've attended the Edmond Author Fest in January (only as me, not 4RV), the North Texas Book Festival in April (4RV), and the OWFI conference (as a speaker and author). The first Saturday in October, 4RV will be at the Eastern Oklahoma Author Fest in Talequah, Oklahoma. Even with surgery, God willing, I'll have the four.


  6. Great post. I attend the Muse Online Writer's Conference, which is awesome. I'll have to look into what conferences we have in our state.