Tips for Planning an In-Person Writing Conference

~Start Planning Early~

Get your planner out and look at the the next eighteen to twenty-four months. Your ideal location may not be available until two years in the future. Seems like a long time, but the decisions that are developed in the early stages will help to keep the conference plans cruising along smoothly.     

~Hand Pick A Mighty Team of Coordinators~

Four to six people is a good amount. If you have four people plus the lead organizer you’re good as gold. Remember to recruit volunteers who can commit to the hours involved. In the initial planning phases, the time commitment is small. Closing in on the date of the conference, each team member should be able to clock in a steady increase of hours until the big show kicks off.

~Get Creative & Invent a Theme~

This is the fun part. Brainstorm visions and themes for the conference. Celebration? Academic? Both? Collaborate with your team to create a vision and a mission statement for the conference. When the planning comes up against a bump or two or three, this fun stuff smooths them all out!

~The Plan-A Wish List~

Gather together, share a cocktail and write out all of your ideas for presenters. Who are your dream agents? What authors do you want to meet? Are there any editors who have worked with a writer you know? Are there speakers who you fan-girl over? Write them all down. Go over the top and dream big!

Every Planning Committee Needs an

~Amy Santiago~

Binders rock. There are plans, categories, sections, tasks and time tables. Find out who wants to do what for the next 18 months to two years. Ex: A planner who loves social media may not know how much writing is involved in this type of promotion. Bonus: There is a color tab for every single one of your sections.

  ~Money Makes the World Go Around and Makes a Conference Move Forward~

What is the budget? In many ways, planning a conference is like planning a wedding. There are down payments and expenses at every level of planning. Make sure to have a spread sheet lover on the team! Knowing what to expect when it comes to the dollars will be a huge stress reducer.


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