I’m wending my way home from Bouchercon 2016, held in amazing New Orleans. I’ve spent five days at a 2,000 person event talking myself hoarse, chugging coffee and other liquids, and attending some terrific panels and talks. Overall I had a crazy good time, but my experience might have been made a little smoother if I’d done some things differently. So, I’m writing a list to myself (and for you!) about how to ensure the next giant conference goes well for introverted me.
Important Notes for the Next Giant Conference I Attend
- When offered the opportunity to take part in a rare, awesome opportunity, such as participating in a second line parade, take it!
- Plan for breaks. You cannot do it all, nor most of it.
- Remember that mystery writers drink (a lot) and stay up late. Don’t feel bad for never lasting to the end. You’re only human.
- Practice summarizing your novel for people, because you’ll repeat it many, many times.
- Be kind to everyone, especially those who look lost/overwhelmed. That was you, at the last conference.
- Write the blog post due at the end of the conference before you go the conference, you idiot. What were you thinking?!
- Retreat to a quiet spot when you need to. That’s self care, not cowardice.
- Beer then liquor, never sicker. Liquor then beer, never fear.
- Bring lots of business cards. Don’t leave them at home (again).
- Hotels often run cold, but not always. Best to have options.
- Comfortable shoes are never a bad idea.
- If you stay at the conference hotel, you don’t have to wait in public bathroom lines, and you can always nip away for a wee rest.
- No shame in eating takeaway from Popeye’s in your hotel room while watching Charlie’s Angels.
- Promote others at least as much (or more) than you promote yourself.
- Find out where the room with the free snacks is on the first
- Do some conference city reconnaissance before the conference so you have meal/activity options.
- Have a system so that you can remember the people you want to connect with post-conference. (Perhaps highlight names in your program or bend the corners on those business cards.)
- Take the day after the conference ends off work, so you can unpack and sleep because you didn’t sleep enough. Not nearly enough. God I’m tired.