Countdown for Preparing for a Writers Conference or Retreat

The inaugural Book Bound Retreat is taking place very soon indeed and so I thought it might be useful to share a countdown of things you can do to prepare for a writers conference or retreat:


10. Prepare an introduction of who you are and what you write. I’d say something like: “Hi, I’m Jasmine and I’m the Senior Commissioning Editor for Children’s fiction at Oxford University Press. When I don’t edit, I write and I am currently working on a middle-grade novel involving some errant gods which will be published in 2015.

9. Do your homework on the people presenting at the conference or retreat. A bit of background knowledge may make things easier when it comes to networking later on.

8. Take any copies of the books you would like signed by authors that may be at the conference.

book signing


7.  Take a comfortable bag to stash your papers, notes and books. You want to stay nimble – especially if the conference takes place in a big venue and you’ll be doing lots of walking.

6. Pack lots of pens [more than you think you need] and some paper. You never know when inspiration might strike or you hear something that you really need to capture!

5.Get ready to make some new friends and open up a little bit about your writing. You might be about to make a brand new writing buddy and they can be a great support and source of honest and constructive feedback!

4.Try not to pack the night before the conference. Conferences and retreats can be exhausting, and if you’re up late packing, you aren’t getting the early night you need to prepare for the conference!

3.Bring cash for the cash bar and for the books you might want to buy from your workshop leaders and your fellow participants.

2.When you get it, take the time to read your welcome packet.  There’s a lot of material there, but don’t wait until your home to find that out – you may miss some vitally important.

1. Print out a few extra copies of your proposal/synopsis just in case an editor or agent would like to take a copy. Most editors and agents will request that you send the materials to them after the conference, but some will take the proposals right away. (Do not print a whole copy of your complete manuscript – no one is going to take that off your hands!).

What ever retreat or conference you participate in this year have fun and be open to the experience so that you get the most out of it!




3 thoughts on “Countdown for Preparing for a Writers Conference or Retreat

  1. Great list. Thank you. Two on my checklist are business cards and, if I have to drive, the postcode for the venue – having discovered to my cost that postal postcodes for big institutions like universities don’t always tally with their physical location. PS Can’t wait for May 9th!

  2. Hello Ladies,

    Very best of luck with your retreat weekend. It sounds inspiring and great fun and I was very disappointed that I wasn’t free the weekend you are holding it so I couldn’t apply for a place.

    Please keep me on your list for any future events as I am very interested.


    Karen Moore

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