As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided to do a “conference prep” series every Monday until ACFW begins.

I’m doing this for a few reasons. One, for anyone who has never gone, it’s an “inside” look on one unpublished authors road to conference. (I’ve only gone to one so far… but I learned a few “what not to do”‘s even that time!) Two, because posting once a week will help me not to procrastinate, at least I hope so. Last year I found myself two weeks before conference with a HUGE amount of stuff undone. I hope to do better this year! And three, you might think of something I forgot. Which, given my memory of late, that could easily happen!

Today we begin with THE LIST.

I am a lover of checklists. I’m also horrible at keeping up with them; however, there are certain times it’s a necessity. Like preparing for a conference.

There are so many unknowns, especially if it’s your first time or two. (All you newbies SHOULD be enrolled in the ACFW conference newbie e-mail loop… I highly recommend it!) But regardless, it’s so easy to forget something. And it’s so annoying to have that “OH MY GOSH I FEEL LIKE I’VE FORGOTTEN SOMETHING” feeling too.

So, today, I present to you my list of things to do to prepare. This is a WIP, as I usually add things later as I think about them. And some of you may have already completed items on this list, but here goes mine. Maybe it will spark something for your own list.

  1. Polish first three chapters of book(s) I intend to pitch*
  2. Prepare one-sheet for my newest book*
  3. Update one-sheet for LOL: Mission Jack
  4. Finalize Agent/Editor Appointments
  5. Print off list of Editors/Agents attending and review*
  6. Design and Order updated business cards*
  7. Go shopping for Banquet Dress*
  8. Lose a bunch of weight so have a valid excuse to go shopping for the rest of my clothes too
  9. Buy new luggage (hubby’s and I’s anniv. present to each other)
  10. Practice Pitch*
  11. Find fun stuff to do around Denver (this one is personal… hubby and I are staying over for three days as a anniversary trip)
  12. Print off all information needed for trip (Flight itinerary, hotel confirmation, rental car confirmation–for after the conference–, maps, ACFW conference schedule)
  13. E-mail Sample chapters to critiquer for Paid Critique (I didn’t do this last year and am REALLY REALLY nervous about it!)
  14. Pack*
  15. Make sure I have camera and necessary batteries with me
  16. Get my hair cut (it needs it badly!)
  17. Last minute pedicure so I can have pretty toes!
  18. REMEMBER CELLPHONE AND LAPTOP CHARGERS (I cannot tell you how many times I forget them)
  19. Finish rough draft of WIP (keeping my fingers crossed that I can do it)
  20. Clean my house (in-laws are coming to stay with kids while we’re gone…)

Okay, I am so forgetting things. I know I am. What do I do with this list? It is going into an excel spreadsheet (I’m a spreadsheet geek…) with a column for “DUE DATE” then will be sorted by date due.

*note* Anything I have a * next to means I plan to devote a “Monday” to this topic, probably during the week I’m devoting to working on that particular item.

Discussion:This is where YOU all come in. What is on your list that is not on mine? Or, can you think of something I’m missing??? If you’re not going… then think of me while I scramble to accomplish everything in the next… eight? weeks.



  1. Wow, thanks for an inside view of your list! I'm completely overwhelmed now!

    I'm on the newbies email list and they mentioned "the dress" for Sat. night banquet. I'm curious if most people where a formal or if most wear Sunday best?

    And business cards. Katie graciously gave me a peek at hers to get an idea of what a card should look like and contain. But I'm struggling with the purpose of them. If we have one sheets, isn't that enough?

    Thanks for your series, Krista. You've motivated me to start my own list for the conference!

  2. Jody, business cards are next week:-) So I'll answer your questions in more details, then give a sample of LAST year's business card with a "what I did wrong" view and what I want to do better this year. I might even let y'all vote on which sample you like this year for my NEW one. *grin*

    The short answer of "why do you need one" is that you're a professional writer. Professional's need business cards. I gave mine out mostly to other writer's last year, and yes, people DID ask for them. Not alot, but it was helpful to have. I'll give more details next week.

    As for the dress… I'll touch on that later too. A many people are "very formal", still others are "formal", and others wore their "sunday best."

  3. Oh my goodness, this makes me nervous! But in a good way. I definitely need a banquet dress and some new clothes. I definitely need to practice my pitch and print out my one-sheets and proposals. Oh goodness, I'm nervous!!

  4. It's been a while since I was attending conferences and pitching editors and agents all the time. I wore myself out doing this stuff. I remember how nervous I was! Best of luck.

  5. Great list! Mine has a couple different things on it:

    21. Write up the itinerary for my kids while I'm gone. Football practices and game, homework procedures, who needs to be where and when, etc.

    22. Get lots of rest the week before if I'm planning on staying up late chatting with new friends and roomies and still stay awake during workshops.

    23. PRAY. Pray I remember my elevator pitches and don't stammer. Pray God puts me in the path of those He wants me to meet. Pray for an open mind to receive the instruction I need. Pray I'll be a gracious winner/loser when the Genesis results are announced.

    I think I'd better get moving on my list so I have lots of time for those last two items.

  6. That's a good list! Just reading it makes me so excited for the conference.

    I've got a list of my own, similar to yours.

  7. Hi, Krista! It's nice to meet you!

    One of my goals is to attend a conference soon; however, it will not be this year. It's fun to live vicariously through everyone else, though. Thanks so much for the inside peek. I'll remember it when the time does come!

  8. You made a great list! When I go, I'm calling you:)
    One thing to remember, when I went to Denver for ICRS years ago, I ended up in the emergency room due to altitude sickness. If you come from a lower level beware. Drink tons of water and pace yourself the first few days. We jumped off the plane, went shopping downtown and the next morning, I passed out in the church service–awful. I was dehydrated and could do nothing for two days.

  9. Ohhhh, you all are getting me SO excited too:-)

    Katie, I TOTALLY get your nervousness. I was flipping out last year, and about a week beforehand, I will be again this year too! But a list helps me. It gives me a "plan" of action. *grin*

    Stephanie, THANKS!! There is a TON to do… but I'm getting a good start on it this year, so, like Thomas the Tank Engine… I think I can, I think I can!

    Candee… GREAT additions! And all are going on my list too!

    Erica… ME TOO! WOOHOO! Can't wait to see ya again!! SEems like last year was pretty monumental for you too, huh!

    Kristen, THANKS for stopping by! Glad to meet you too! Conferences are great… hope you're able to attend one soon!

    Tiffany, Great reminder! I've heard about the alltitude issues. Will have to mention it to my hubby so he can remind me. (I have a HORRIBLE memory!) Or… better yet, I'll add it to my list! WOOHOO

  10. The first thing on my list would have to be actually signing up to go to a conference. I've never been to one, and the way things look now, until I get a "real job" (as my husband likes to say), I won't be. Thanks for the tips. I'm copying and pasting them into word for future reference. Thanks, also, for joining my blog. I love getting to know new people. 🙂

  11. I love checklists too!

    Aw man, reading your list makes me super sad I won't be there this year. Sniff. Take pictures!

  12. Lazy Writer… LOL. My hubby knows better than to say that (especially since I'm the one with the biggest real job…) But keep working at him. Let him know if you get to go… then you might GET a real job! Hey, it could work!

    Georgiana… Oh my. You just made me frown. You aren't coming??? How can this be? I'll light a candle for you tonight.. *sniff* Obviously, you will be missed!

  13. So I'll be going to my first conference this year–through SCBWI–and my list has several similar things. I have some promotional materials to give aways, so I need to find out what the rules/policies are, and I'd like to have my website finished by then, but that may have to wait. Oh, and I also have to take a notebook and pen for taking notes (or writing, if inspiration hits).

  14. Yeah Tara!! You'll have a great time, I know! I think one of my crit partners is attending that conference as well.

    Promotional materials… I'd LOVE to have to worry about those someday! And SO right on about the pen and paper… not to mention my handy-dandy laptop and… LAPTOP CHARGER! (maybe if I say it enough I'll actually remember it!)

Comments are closed.