Hi again. In my last blog post I talked about the cool things that happened when I attended the 2012 Love is Murder conference. I didn’t even come close to telling you about all of them, but I wanted to switch gears and share a few points with you. If you’ve ever been to a conference, you know that there are a lot of people and not all of them understand the etiquette involved.
Editors, agents, publicists, and authors attend these events as special guests and we make ourselves available as much as possible, but you must know, as adults, that there are limits. In my travels around the hotel during the conference, I had the opportunity to speak with several of the other guests. We talked a bit, and here are a few of the things I heard from some of those guests. Keep in mind, these are actual statements (not verbatim). If you attend conferences you should pay close attention to these things. And no, I am not going to tell you who said what. I am going to use the word “guest” to mean editor, agent, publicist, author generically.
- When a guest is talking to a group of people, DO NOT interrupt their conversation to offer them a copy of your book, proposal packet, or share the premise of your book.
- When a guest is participating in a specific type of event, DO NOT attend that event under false pretenses to get their attention. This actually happened to multiple editors who were doing author appointments and people came up during their times so they could talk to them about other things.
- When you attend a panel or workshop as an attendee, DO NOT raise your hand to make a point and then promote your book to the audience. Relevant or not, it is NOT your show.
- When you ask a guest for information and then don’t agree with it, DO NOT stand in a public hallway with people milling about and discuss how ill-informed you think that guest is. You never know who is standing 2 feet away and listening. I promise that person will never offer you their time or courtesy again.
- When a guest is in the bathroom, DO NOT stand between them and a stall or a sink to discuss your work. There is a time and a place.
- When you sit with a guest at a meal (large table), DO NOT monopolize the guest’s attention, they are there for the enjoyment of all the attendees.
- When you are in a panel or workshop, DO NOT publicly contradict the guest when they are giving a presentation.
- When you are an attendee and not a guest, DO NOT remove the guests promo materials to make room for yours. The guests are offered certain perks, and if you want those perks, get yourself invited as a guest.
- DO NOT put your promo materials in someone else’s space. This is me, and I am telling you, when I PAY for a space to promote that is MY space. You are alienating me by leaving stacks of your promo material on MY table. You are free to pay for your own space to promote.
- When you don’t like a certain guest, DO NOT talk smack about them where their friends can hear you. Word will get back to the guest.
These may seem like common sense things, but each of these things actually happened at Love is Murder. This is one of the best conferences in the industry, and the guest and other attendees deserve to be respected. This is true of every conference, no matter how big or small. We are professionals and should quite honestly know better.
Everyone has an agenda at these conferences. Everyone wants to sell something. The best ones set guests up with agents and publishers for a limited time so they can pitch their book idea. The guest is free to network but not push into someone elses conversation. That is just plain rude. Love your blog. Always inciteful and informative.
Karen, I think sometimes guests find themselves frantic to “get their money’s worth” from the conference and feel they have no other time to be face-to-face with people who can help them with their writing career. Too bad they do just the opposite by alienating the very people they’re trying to impress. It’s a mystery why normally intelligent folks leave their common sense and courtesy locked in the trunk of their car when they attended conferences. Great post.
Wow … I’m always surprised by failures of common sense and courtesy. Thanks for sharing.