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Attending a Writer's Conference as a Teen: The Presentation

            For the past couple weeks, I’ve been sharing some advice for teens planning on attending a writer’s conference. You can read about the preparation here and the professionalism here. Today, I’m talking about presenting your story. I anticipated talking about my story to editors and agents, but I was surprised to find how many non–published authors wanted to know about my story. Presenting  my story well to them was also important.
This is the picture I used for my pitch sheet, t-shirt, party decorations, and braces included.

            I’m the kind of person who might prepare for months, agonize over my dress, practice my pitch to death, and still say something stupid. Everyone says something stupid. Everyone messes up the pitch. But, everyone can present their story in a way that interests. You don’t have to change who you are to make yourself more appealing to agents. 

I won’t claim to know much about presenting books, but all five of the editors and agents I met with became interested in my story. Even editors, agents, and authors I didn’t have appointments with wanted to know more. Here are some general things I learned that can help you present your book.  

Present Well:
            You are the one person who knows your story the best because you wrote it, but translating that into a verbal expression is a challenge. You have to be able to share your idea to people so they want to read it without sounding demanding or rude. 

·         You need a focus. Don’t try to cram every great idea you had about your book into a fifteen minute appointment. Without rambling, be able tell why the story is important, where you came up with the idea and why you should be the one to write this book.
·         Answer the Question. Don’t start talking about a pet you had three years ago when you were asked about your target audience. Be direct and concise. It is okay to ask them questions too. Tip: If the editor or agent starts looking away, it probably means you are talking too much.
·         Give solutions to their suggestions. If an editor has a concern about something in your story, think of ways to fix the problem right then. Tell them how you can work on your story. This shows them that you listen, are willing to learn, and are not too attached to your story. As small as it may seem, this is important. 

Going to a conference can be scary and intimidating, but when you put the time into your preparation, you do become more confident. If you spent so much time on your book, why wing it at the conference? Be prepared, be professional, present your story well, and your experience will be much more enjoyable and encouraging.


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