There are only a few short months until the 2018 Steel Pen Conference but most attendees won’t start planning for the conference until a few weeks beforehand. As your resident marketing expert and fellow attendee, I encourage you to start planning your marketing strategies now.
For only a few minutes time, pre-planning will enhance your conference-going experience and make it more effective for you.
First, go to www.steelpenconference.org for more information about and to register for the conference.
Before the Conference
· If you have a book to sell or to pitch, start prepping your pitch. Keep it short and catchy. Practice your pitch often leading up to the conference, so it sounds natural. The more you practice, the easier it is to recite your pitch even if you’re nervous.
· Even if you don’t yet have a book, create a USP (unique selling proposition) for yourself. Who are you as a writer? You need to be able to succinctly define what type of writing you do and what makes you different.
· Let your readers know where you live. If you have a webpage, you should have links to your social media profiles. Make sure you are stocked up on business cards and that you are active on your social media platforms.
Give yourself a social media makeover
Spruce up your social media footprint by taking steps to make all your social media avenues functional and professional.
· Take a new headshot. Consider updating your headshot at least once a year. Make sure you are well represented, recognizable, and professional looking.
· Open all your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) and see if they are cohesive and a true representation of you and your brand. Update anything out of date and consider posting more often leading up to the conference.
· Challenge yourself to add a new avenue or strategy to your social media footprint. Try Instagram or Snapchat. Post on Medium or Tumblr. Explore new hashtags or try out the “Stories” function on several platforms. Marketing tools are constantly evolving. Experiment often to find the best tools for you.
At the Conference
Conferences can be hard for writers to attend because so many authors are introverted. Since we spend so much time alone with the page, it can be hard to break out and suddenly become social. But keep in mind that most of the other attendees feel the same apprehension as you do.
· Reach out and make new friends. It’s easy to open up a conversation with “Is this your first time at the Steel Pen conference?” or “So what are you writing?”
· Ask for your new friend’s name or a business card. (Bonus tip: tuck some business cards behind your name badge for easy access.)
· Don’t forget to befriend and chat with the keynote speaker, seminar presenters, conference organizers, and volunteers.
· Discover if the conference is using a hashtag, such as #SteelPen2018. Before, during, and after the conference use the hashtag to live Tweet a helpful seminar, mention your new author friends, or post small snippets of wisdom from the conference.
Following the conference hashtag is also a great way to find fellow attendees and other writers.
Even If You Don’t Have Anything to Sell Yet
Don’t worry! Selling a book only takes a moment but creating an audience for your books is a long game. Follow the steps in this article in order to start and continue growing your audience.
· Concentrate on gathering names and friends. Keep in touch after the conference via social media, private groups, or through an email newsletter.
After the Conference
Keep the momentum going by cultivating the relationships and connections you just made.
· Friend or Follow all your new friends right away. On Facebook, make sure you look for a fan or author page along with the personal page. On LinkedIn, remind your new connection how and where you met. LinkedIn is more professionally based, while other social media avenues are usually personal.
· Consider creating a private group on Facebook for some of your closest new friends. Several of my critique groups or social groups were born from local writing conferences. Keep the conversation going.
· Take a moment to promote some of your new author friends. Retweet other author’s new releases. Read and review the books you bought. Send an encouraging note to a fellow author.
· Sign up to for your next conference and keep working on your writing career.
I look forward to meeting you all at the Steel Pen Conference. I’ll be teaching Guidelines for Creating an Effective Marketing Strategy where we will be discussing time-saving tips and strategies for creating a well-balanced marketing plan, no matter where you are on your writing journey. See you at #SteelPen2018 in October!
Nicole Amsler has 30 years of marketing experience and a lifetime love of writing. Currently the Director of Marketing for a tech firm, she has been involved in a wide variety of industries, including marketing authors and professional speakers. She lives in Noblesville with her family and enjoys writing fiction, illustrating children’s books in felt and fiber art, traveling, cooking, and learning German.