What to Do After the Conference
By Stephanie M. Clarke
Ok, you have attended different book fairs, meetings and similar events. But what’s next? Whether you attended the Frankfurt Book Fair or have been to another writing/publishing conference, you have probably found yourself in possession of a wealth of knowledge that now needs to be processed and put into action. There are specific ways you can make sure to make the most of your conference attendance:
Take time to process
Even if you are a seasoned conference attendee, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and the number of people you met during the event. Take some time after you return home to process the experience. This debriefing may help you to remember important information from the conference and will also allow you time to plan on how to use the information.
For instance, you may have been particularly interested in the viewpoint of Juergen Boos, the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, as reported by Deutsche Welle in this article. “…instead (the dividing line) runs between those who have a passion for content and who want to provide access to it, and those who don’t really care what they’re selling.” You may, as a result, have decided that a major part of your publishing plan for the upcoming year is to concentrate on making sure the content you offer is valuable to the reader and shows a consciousness of quality.
Follow up with contacts
The people you met at the conference can become valuable colleagues. According to Hannah Johnson, in Publishing Perspectives, “Don’t let your hard work go to waste by letting these new connections fade. The first thing you should do when you get home is to follow up with every single person you met.”
Make sure to send a note to each person you would like to maintain contact with, as soon after the conference as possible. The sooner you make follow up contact, the more likely that person is to remember you. In a group of possibly hundreds of connections, you want to stand out with prompt follow up after the event.
Purchase any materials you noted
There were likely a number of publications and other writing materials you were introduced to and interested in at the conference. Due to a number of factors, including travel bag space and cost, you probably made note of these to purchase at a later time. Once you arrive home, start with the most important one, and make the purchases as you can. Your continued excitement from attending the conference can be fueled by studying the related books.
Make plans to attend the next conference
Journalist Eva Schweitzer discusses a major perk of attending the Frankfurt Book Fair in her blog. “…Frankfurt is a great place to meet people you could see in New York and Berlin as well, but don’t.” The event is geared to providing access to publishing professionals and is an event you may not want to miss.
The best time to plan to attend a conference is often directly after the current event ends. Sometimes, there are reduced rates available for current attendees and you can take advantage of these price reductions if you already know you want to attend the next one. If you want to participate as a vendor at the next event, it is wise to reserve your space as soon as possible so you can be sure to get in.