With Realm Makers rapidly approaching (less than three weeks away!), everyone is scrambling to get packed and prepare themselves for three days of awesome in Reno. But for those who’ve never been to a Realm Makers conference before, what should you expect? Should you bring anything special?
This will be the fifth Realm Makers I have attended, and I thought I would share my top five essentials for conference-going. Sure, all of this changes from person to person, but everyone needs a place to start.
1. Notebooks and pens
Or something to take notes with. Maybe it’s a laptop or a tablet. Regardless, you will hear things, learn things, get information that you will need later on, and if you don’t have something to write it down on, you’ll forget. Ask me. I’ve been there. Keep a notebook and fresh pen with you at all times. You never know when an idea will strike, and at Realm Makers, you never know when you’ll meet your next best friend.
2. Business cards
You’d think this is a given, but most people (including myself) don’t think about it until after the fact. If you have business cards, bring them. If you don’t have business cards, get some! You’re going to meet a lot of people. Just expect it. Tell your inner introvert to calm down and understand that it’s part of the process. The writing community is small, and the scifi/fantasy/horror writing community is even smaller. And you’ll need the support of everyone you meet if you want to get your name out in the industry. So come eager to make new friends and contacts, and be able to share information about yourself too.
3. Manuscripts to pitch
If you have a manuscript and it’s finished, you’d better be planning to pitch it to someone! Even if you don’t think it’s ready, even if you don’t feel competent, PITCH! It’s good practice for you, and Realm Makers is a GREAT place to get started. Everyone at Realm Makers is eager to teach and share knowledge, and you’ll come away encouraged. But you’ll get out of it what you put into it. So if you’ve got a manuscript even part-way ready, be willing to talk about it. That’s why we’re all there.
There are always snacks at Realm Makers, but if you have blood sugar issues (like yours truly), you may need a little something extra to nosh on between sessions. Bags of nuts are good. Protein bars. Things like that. But out of courtesy for whoever is speaking, try to keep the noise level down so you don’t bother people around you.
5. The Right Attitude
Finally, most importantly, bring your best attitude. That means come willing to learn. Don’t walk into any conference assuming you already know everything. That’s a really quick way to alienate people. Instead, come humble. Believe me, that’s a far more attractive quality than knowing everything. Realm Makers is about learning our craft, making contacts in the industry who understand our work, and having a really awesome time encouraging each other.
Bonus: Nerdy T-Shirt
If you’ve got geeky wardrobe items, you should be bringing them. Believe me, you won’t be alone. And there may be people around you who actually get your references. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Did I miss anything? What are you bringing to Realm Makers?