With less than two weeks left until utopYAcon, we are all feeling the excitement and anticipation. Whether you are looking forward to seeing old friends or a little nervous about making new ones, here are a few tips to make the most of your time and feel confident heading into the event.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF NASHVILLE:
It is hotter than Hades in Nashville in June. However, the conference center can, at times, be chilly. Dress for HOT weather, but bring a hoodie, long-sleeved shirt or sweater in case you need it. Also keep in mind that, while we don’t have a dress code and want you to be comfortable, how you present yourself can help you stand out.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE AWARDS:
Do not feel like you have to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a fancy dress. Go nuts if you wanna, but we think of it more like our version of the MTV Awards rather than the Oscars — a hip, funky, hot night out on the town.
We recommend eating BEFORE the Awards — at least a snack — because they start at 8 PM sharp and will run for two hours or more. Also, no outside food and drink can be brought inside Scarritt-Bennett. There are vending machines if you need to grab a snack at the venue. As much as you want to squeeze into a dress, there is nothing worse than being “hangry.”
There is no alcohol allowed on the Scarritt-Bennett campus, so the only beverages available are from the vending machines. Water will also be available. Don’t worry, we will all be riding the buzz of the awards ceremony. It’s a blast. It goes by way too fast, and then you’re off to your after parties!!
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE CONFERENCE:
READ BOOKS. We have a stellar list of books to read here of authors who will be on the panels, some of which were nominated for utopYA Awards this year. This is by far my favorite tip.
SET A GOAL(S). Are you looking for a book cover designer or trailer producer? Is there an author you can’t wait to meet? Maybe you need help deciding what publishing path is right for you or need to strengthen your craft. Decide what will make the conference a success for you, and prioritize accordingly.
MAKE A PLAN. With three sessions to choose from each hour, you will want to plan ahead which sessions are going to help you reach your goals. Can’t decide which to attend? Find a buddy or two to share notes with on the sessions you can’t attend. Make time to share notes and ideas over a meal. Click here for Session Schedule.
BE PREPARED. Don’t forget to bring business cards, bookmarks or other promotional items to pass out to those you meet. Be prepared to take notes and jot down ideas when inspiration strikes.
DON’T MISS THE MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS & KEYNOTE SPEAKERS. Not only do we give away crazy amazing prizes every morning, but the keynote speakers we have lined up for you are sharing funny, inspirational and educational nuggets of their awesome that you do NOT want to miss.
BE AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT. We have a great lineup of panelists, however, we encourage all attendees to participate in the discussions. Prepare some questions ahead of time you’d like to ask the panelists. Is there something you feel you could add to the topic? Write down a few points you’d like to share. Raise your hand or raise your voice, but get involved — just remember to be courteous to others who would also like the floor and be mindful to stay on topic.
VISIT ALL THE EXHIBITORS. They WANT to meet you. You share common interests — reading, writing, book boyfriends, paranormal, and so much more. Get to know them. There will be 15 upstairs and 11 downstairs, all eager to give you swag and make friends. Click here for Exhibitors List.
VISIT THE BOOKSTORE. This is where your favorite panelists and authors will be selling and/or SIGNING books. Some panel authors are setting times for signings, others will be there after their panels. Be sure to bring some cash or credit cards — or the books you brought with you — and go bananas.
ENJOY YOURSELF! One of the things that makes utopYA truly unique is the community and camaraderie among authors and readers alike. We’re all there to share our love of the written word, so you already have something in common with the person sitting next to you. Strike up a conversation about a favorite book or your latest read. Remember to leave room for spontaneity and have fun.
Do you have a tip to share? Leave a comment and let us know.