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Essential Writing Conference Packing List

Good presenters are in demand, and the benefits of being a presenter are many. But when you attend such a conference, what items warrant suitcase real estate? Here’s my list of recommended items.

The digital publishing revolution has caused not only a proliferation of books in the marketplace, but a proliferation of writing conferences—local, regional and national. Good presenters are in demand, and the benefits of being a presenter are many: a higher profile for you at the conference (which can leverage into book sales or future gigs), credibility with the other presenters and the chance to network with them, the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of aspiring writers, and more. But when you attend such a conference, what items warrant suitcase real estate? Here’s my list of recommended items:

This guest post is by bestselling author and writing authorityElizabeth Sims. She's the author of seven popular novels in two series, including The Rita Farmer Mysteries and The Lillian Byrd Crime series. She's also the author of the excellent resource for writers, You've Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams (Writer's Digest Books), which is in its fifth printing. Click here to order now.

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  • a nice outfit
  • your pre-conference paperwork, which should include instructions for presenters, etc.
  • your computer, with script and PowerPoint in an easily-accessible file
  • an HDMI cable for connecting to the projection equipment
  • a memory stick, packed separately from your computer, onto which you’ve loaded your presentation files—just in case
  • your script, printed out
  • copies of your books (if you have them)
  • a pen for book signing
  • an email list signup method or sheet
  • business cards or bookmarks to pass out
  • throat lozenges/mints
  • a water bottle
  • an energy bar in case you need a boost before going on (I always drink a small cup of coffee, but eat very little before my presentations.)
  • a small flashlight (Sometimes it takes minutes—or longer—for a large hotel’s auxiliary power to come on after a failure.)
  • a spouse or significant other? (Your call. When I go it alone, I tend to meet more people.)

Want to learn how to become a writing conference mainstay? My article “Knock ‘em Dead” in the March/April 2017 Writer’s Digest provides 15 tips to earn you rave reviews.

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