Since 1994, Jim Rubart has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Jr2 Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. He's also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world's most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn't sleep much. You can reach him at jlrudini[at]comcast.net
How to Market Yourself at Writers Conferences
Ah, spring. Conference season is
upon us. You want to stand out? Make a lasting impact on editors,
agents, and other architects of fiction? Use these six techniques when
you want to make an impression badly:
After applying these six techniques, I guarantee you’ll succeed in making an “impression badly.” Excruciatingly bad.
Most of you probably figured out
my little joke long before we reached technique 6. But since I’ve seen
all of the above in heaping doses, it’s probably worth a quick moment
of self-reflection to make sure we’re doing the exact opposite of the
2. Opening lines: Every editor and agent I’ve met at writing conferences is kind and approachable. But they’re human. They get tired of hearing the same phrases. It’s not original to say,
“Read any good books lately?”
They might give you a courtesy laugh, but
inside, they’re probably cringing. It’s not original to say, “I really
believe God has called me to write and I just really believe he’s given
me this book to share with you.” Best thing to say? Describe your
writing or project in as few words as possible, then let them guide the
conversation. If they don’t ask a question, ask them a question (see
number 6 below). I realize when nervous, many people are afflicted with
verbal vomiting. Resist this deadly affliction.
Give the editors and agents time to first consider your project, then share their wisdom. You’d be shocked to learn how fast editors and agents can tell if your project is right for them or their house.
In spring of ’07 I had a fifteen-minute appointment with the acquisitions editor for a devotional magazine. After a quick greeting, I handed him a sample of my devotional writing. After forty-five seconds he turned and said, “You can write for us.” He handed me his card and said he’d be in touch. The whole exchange was over in two minutes. The point is good editors and agents know what they’re doing. They have years of insight and wisdom. So tell them briefly what your writing is about; ask a question. Then shut up and listen. Repeat.
Want more ideas? Head over to my article Go for Broca in the July 2008 issue of CFOM.
Final thought: Be yourself. Not the pretend self. The real one. It’s the easiest way to stand out.