Chip MacGregor

August 3, 2012

Thursdays with Amanda: Promoting Yourself at a Conference Part 2



Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

I’m doing the conference thing again this week, so I’m going to continue the discussion on promoting yourself at a conference with a little story…

Long, long ago, at an ACFW far, far away, there was a young woman with purple shoes. Now these weren’t just any purple shoes; they were magic purple shoes. Shoes that caused every agent and editor in the land to take notice of this young, unpublished writer.

Now ACFW was full of blossoming writers–writers with hopes and dreams. Writers who threatened to steal the attention of the agents and editors. But as dusk turned to dawn on the final day of ACFW and the agents and editors went back to their homes and families, there was one aspiring author who the agents and editors remembered. One who stood out among all of the new writers in the land.

It was the girl with purple shoes. Because not only had she worn purple shoes…her business card and website also carried her purple shoe brand.

Let this be a lesson to you … branding can help you stand apart from the crowd. Even if you’re a new writer. And if you’re consistent with it…if you let it infiltrate your online presence, agents and editors will take note. Just like we at MacGregor Literary and some editors at big CBA houses took note of Halee Matthews, the girl with the purple shoes.

What are your ideas for making yourself stand out at conference? It doesn’t have to be a physical trait…it can be a great book title, a tagline…really anything that’s different and unique but still professional.


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  • ChrisStaron says:

    I’m hoping that since I appear to be one of the few young men in the Christian fiction world that I will stand out like a sore thumb. But I’ve also been designing my blog, one-sheet, and business cards with a similar wood grain theme. It’s actually the wood paneling in the ski bum shack I live in, but it works for the design! Who knew that a low-rent apartment could be a design element?

  • Mary Weber says:

    Oh those shoes are awesome! I’ve got ones in red but haven’t seen purple! Totally LOVE. Yay Halee!

    And how do I make myself stand out at conferences? Hmm…honestly? Mainly by being assertive and friendly. Sometimes writers’ conferences (well, any conference really) can be intimidating, and I notice that the people I remember (and appreciate) the most are those who are kind and genuinely interested in the individuals around them. And even better than standing out, it’s the best way to make some super wonderful friends.

    On a physical note though, I tend to have brightly colored hair most months of the year so…if you see someone with purple and black streaks at ACFW who you suspect to be the most geeky YA writer you’ve ever seen, it’ll be me (if I haven’t already come up to you and introduced myself). :0)

    And if that doesn’t work, I may just have to pull out my hot pink satin muumuu…cuz, you know, that’s SURE to be a hit. You may consider yourself fairly warned. Ahem. ;0)

  • Great post. I wish I had the guts to be fun. But if I try, my teen children are sure to tell me “epic fail” Mom. So I have to come up with something else. Old, cranky woman? Is that a viable brand? 🙂  I love those purple shoes. But they only worked because the wearer could pull them off.

    I have tried to make website colors and business cards match, but it’s not a particularly memorable color. I’ll have to give this some thought. Thanks for this post!

    •  Maybe you could do something fun with your crazy last name? (I’m
      allowed to say this because my last name is equally crazy). Or maybe you
      could do something with the type of writing you do?

    • Diana Denis says:

      “epic fail”? I hear it ALL the time! Teenagers have a way of either keeping us grounded or scaring us out of something fun and exciting. I’ve decided they won’t scare me off that easy any more. At one of my birthday parties a few years back I learned and did the “soulja boy” dance in front of our friends and family. One of my proudest moments; they learned to stop underestimating me! So be bold and go for it! You just might discover you are fierce in those purple shoes:-)

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    I don’t think I could pull off purple shoes.

  • Thanks, Amanda! Who knew I made such an impression? 

    Tonya, I was with you – I had a moment where I thought “Are they going to think I look like a kid, playing at being an adult?” But I figured if I dressed up with my clothes, I could dress down a little with my shoes. It was that one style element that captured me and my personality. I had to give it a shot.

  • Tiffany Amber Stockton says:

    Well, what I’ve become known for wasn’t intentional per se. I have bright multi-colored Tiki bird slippers I wore to my first ACFW conference, and they’ve made an appearance at other conferences too. Funny when I go outside ACFW how some people remark, “Oh, YOU’RE the Tiki Bird lady?”

    What a shame I can’t tie that into my tagline of “Real Life Empowered by Faith.” I share faith-based history through story. And I’m fairly certain they didn’t have bright slippers like mine in history. 🙂

    Now, I do make sure my chosen colors flow through all material I hand out, and my tagline is on everything. But I merely rely on my winsome personality and sticking my foot in my mouth — sans slipper. 🙂

  • dabneyland says:

    Tagline. That’s what I’m crediting for getting noticed: author, speaker, professional patient. That…and a handful of near-death experiences. Come to think of it, wearing purple shoes would have been easier, and oh, so fun. Kudos to Halee. 

  • Jan Cline says:

    My first conference I wore a bright red jacket and an editor did remember me the next day as wearing it. From then on I have always worn a large piece of jewelery that catches attention. So far I have had good luck at conferences because I’m always very prepared with business cards, one sheets and professional wardrobe. I practice my pitches and try to be upbeat and friendly.

    It’s good writing that keeps the attention of an editor or agent – I’m working on that every day. I love this series of posts, partly because I’m a conference junkie, and partly because I direct one and love to see first timers walk through the door.

    Love the story of the purple shoes….that would catch my eye!

  • Tonya says:

    Really! That can work. I’ve thought about it before but didn’t know if it was professional. The purple shoes idea is very Elle Woods with the pink, scented resume.
    The guy: “it’s pink”
    Elle: “and scented too. It’s adds a little something, don’t you think?”

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