After the Show

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Workshop Handouts

Best Selling Author, Anna DeStefano

After the Show... Key Things To Do AFTER a Writing Conference So, you packed and prepared and practiced you book pitch, and you lived la vida loca at the writing conference to end all writing conferences, and you enjoyed a few blissful moments of supreme success that were THE BEST MOMENTS EVER of your writing life... But now that you're back home, how do you make the most of the time and energy and money you invested to go? 1. "It Ain't Pretty After the Show." But your job is far from over. •

Don't hide in the sink hole of family and day job obligations.

Why, yes, that manuscript that wasn't finished when you left STILL isn't finished.

Being exhausted from your big weekend/week away isn't an excuse. Make it your inspiration.

After the Show


Best Selling Author Anna DeStefano


The Writing Business Must Remain Your Focus. The overall point of conference is business. Why should that change now that you're home? •

Writing. Improving the writing. Rewriting. Pitching. Selling. More rewriting. Marketing. Promoting. Networking. Then writing some more. Keep the conference "party" going in your "real" world. Doing these things, or learning everything you can about doing these things, is what your conference experience was all about. So, now that you're too exhausted to keep your eyes open long enough to make your kids breakfast, get them to wherever they need to be, clean your filthy house and do laundry, here are some things that you should do as soon as possible to make sure every dollar you spent at the con continues to pay itself forward.



Write the very first day you're home. •

Yeah, I'm serious.

And write every day after that. Even if it's just a page or two at first, get back on the horse and keep charging ahead with that story that you wanted to tell so badly, so well, that it's worth $1k to travel somewhere far, far away to get better at your craft.

Follow up with everyone you took a business card (or email/social media contact info) from. •

Continue to meet and greet and socialize like you're not an introvert who lives to hide away in her office all day and spin tales about make believe people who have real lives out there in the real world that's kind of scary when you're not surrounded with a thousand or so other writers who or just as neurotic as you (or is that just me???)

Add the email address you've collected to your address book or newsletter mailing list, (when appropriate) to carry those contacts forward. Find Anna on FaceBook and Twitter!

After the Show



Best Selling Author Anna DeStefano


Shoot a quick reminder email to new professional contacts, reminding him/her and yourself how you met and what common interest struck enough of a cord for you to exchange contact information.

Invite new published author contacts to guest blog on your site. Or review a favorite book of theirs and shoot them a quick email to let them know you have. Visit your new contact's blog and comment on something they've posted recently.

It's your job to carry the socializing aspect of the conference forward, especially now that social media and the Internet help us stay in touch across any distance. That way, the next time you see this person or run across them online, you have an ongoing relationship to work from.

Finish whatever work you told the editor or agent was already finished and get the requested material in. •

That's right, we all fib from time to time when we say we're ready to submit something, once a professional who's in a position to represent or buy it has shown an interest.

No big deal--unless you make the serious error of not finishing said work as soon as possible once you're home and then SENDING IT IN.

We're all terrified of putting our work out there to be judged, and we're none of us EVER finished enough with anything to actually want to submit it for publication. But you're never going to actually GET published unless you send in the work. Send it in.

Repeat after me--"This is the reason I went to the conference..."

Send. The. Requested. Work. In.

Make a list of the new techniques and ideas you want to incorporate into your writing and career plan. •

Go back over your notes from the craft/industry/inspiration workshops you attended (and the handouts and audio recordings and whatever else you brought back) and make a list.

Yes. Make a list.

Make a timeline for when you want to begin working with each new concept or idea. Better yet, make a plan for how you're going to work with each, and where you want to be with each by the time you attend your next national conference. Find Anna on FaceBook and Twitter!

After the Show


Best Selling Author Anna DeStefano


Put a copy of the plan in a sealed envelope and put it aside to be opened the night before you leave next year. This is your goal. Your way to keep yourself honest. Your reminder before you pay for the next trip of just how much return on your investment you're going to make sure you get when you make it back home again.

Put the plan to work—like all those workshop speakers and authors and agents and editors and new friends you met are sitting beside your desk dying to see what you come up with next. Make their inspiration and ideas your daily companions. Honor their advice and insight by breathing new life into your work.

In short, hold yourself accountable. Wring as much craft knowledge and improved writing as possible from the amazing opportunity you just gave yourself.

And finally, make your way back to your very next critique group meeting and local writing chapter meeting. •

The very next one.

Don't let yourself off the hook or mess with your real-world writing routine. This is the backbone of your writing life. This is what sustains your muse. These people are your creative lifeblood, as much as your dreams and your drive and your hard work at your conference. Don't mess with that.

Take your conference knowledge with you and share your experiences. Write an article for your local chapter newsletter about what you learned or something fabulous that inspired you while you were away. Recommend some of those new authors or blogs or social media contacts to those who weren't lucky enough to be able to go. Share your notes and new techniques. In short, continue the conference experience in your small groups.

Get better with your groups. Grow as a group, as each of you grow individually, which, not so surprisingly, is the writing conference model in a nutshell.

Questions Find Anna on FaceBook and Twitter!

After the Show

Best Selling Author Anna DeStefano


Anna DeStefano Anna DeStefano is the nationally best selling author of classic romance for Harlequin and Silhouette, and fantasy and paranormal suspense for Dorchester publishing. She's won and finalled in countless national awards, including being a two-time Romantic Times Award winner, a Golden Heart winner, and a finalist in the National Readers Choice awards, the Holt Medallion, and the Book Buyers Best Award. Past President Advisor of Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), a group of over 200 published authors and aspiring writers that meets monthly in Atlanta, Anna is a GA Tech honors graduate with 10 years of experience working in Corporate IT, and she applies the more analytical side of her personality to studying the craft of storytelling. She's presented to over 60 conferences and groups, including the Harriette Austin Writer's Conference at the University of Georgia, the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, the Surrey International Writers Conference, and all-day and weekend writing workshops for smaller groups. Find Anna on FaceBook and Twitter!