How to host a conference for writers

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Hahaha! Just kidding. I have no idea. I mean, I did it recently, but that doesn’t mean I know what I’m doing :)

On March 30 and 31, the company I work for hosted a conference for indie authors. And I basically ran the whole thing.

I’m working on journaling ALL OF THE DETAILS for myself (thinking about printing out all the pages and tucking it in my Project Life album). The document has barely scratched the surface and it’s already like 4000 words. … and I keep being reminded of more. But in the meantime, here’s a tiny bit of an overview.

Last summer, the guys asked me to plan a conference for our audience. Now, keep in mind I have never in my life even been to an event of this size let alone plan one. But. You know. They trust me. And I can figure it out. Probably.

Fortunately, my mom HAS planned events like this so she helped me figure out all the things I needed to remember and think about and answer questions about. So I wasn’t totally flying blind. I spent months and months and months trying to plan this all in between all my other work (and still part-time). We didn’t make any money. We MIGHT have broke even. I’m sure I made mistakes …

Putting together the Smarter Artist Summit was … HARD. It was chaotic. Especially having to try to fit it around all my other work. The last month leading up to the event was SO full and stressful and my face totally broke out and I just know I have so many more gray hairs and all of it.

I basically did everything except invite the speakers and write the email blasts to promote. But everything to do with putting the actual physical experience together was on me (and, fortunately, the dozens of volunteers).

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But in spite of all that stress, it GENUINELY still exceeded all my expectations. The speakers were so smart, and I think everyone learned something no matter how far they were in their career.

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But my personal favorite part was the attendees. Everyone was so generous and kind and I could not have done this without them. I had more volunteers than I could use. And then in addition to that I had people going out of their way to buy me gifts, or lunch or physically take things out of my arms to help me.

I got to see friends from previous events and spend time with them which I LOVED. But I also got to meet so many new people. Not everyone that was there (disappointing), but I have all kinds of phone numbers and contact info for new friends that I am hoping to be able to connect with over the next year.

The attendees were all amazing.

More photos here and here.

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I tried to articulate it a bit in the caption of this photo.

I wish that I had had more time to hang out with everyone in between the actual event itself. I think several people are planning to come into town for a whole week next time. And we’re going to adjust the order of the events so post-Summit is more relaxed and more able to be social.

I am so very much looking forward to it!

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Thursday night, after the Summit, about 40 of us all went out to karaoke and then out to a bar after that. I know one person specifically just stayed up all night before catching his flight at 6am. I love these people and I could not be more excited about next year.

In fact … we have already started selling tickets for next year’s event — even though we don’t have dates, a location or any speakers at all. And as of right now we’ve sold almost 10 already. Not too shabby.

Sterling & Stone isn’t my company, but I’m proud to be on the team. If you want to be in the loop for next year’s event or anything else the guys are working on you can sign up for the email list here: http://sterlingandstone.net/repeaters

I was *exhausted* and stayed in bed for several days afterward but it was totally worth it.

RECOMMENDED: I actually was *just* on a podcast episode last week talking about the event, if you want to hear some of the specific stories …. The guys recorded a couple podcast episodes about it too here more professionally mostly about the community and here totally NSFW but I join the show halfway through.

**SIDENOTE** Should I start focusing more on writing and being an indie author? Are you at all interested in that kind of content? It’s a big part of my life, but I’m not sure it belongs on this site. It’s ok to tell me to leave it out :)

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