6 Reasons to Attend a National Conference

This past weekend, I attended the National Science Teachers Association conference and it was a great way to meet my audience. Here are some specific things that I thought were a benefit of attending.

Know Your Audience. This is a photo of the convention floor, the display booths. It’s interesting to wander the aisles and think like a science teacher. I try to imagine which of the booths I would stop at and why—what would they offer to a science teacher of various levels (elementary, middle school, high school). And then apply that to my books: what do my books offer to the same person? It’s a great way to get a feel for the overall needs of an audience of teachers.

The 2013 National Science Teachers Association Convention exhibitor's hall, San Antonio, TX

Meet Your Editor. We often work long-distance with editors and a conference is a great way to meet them. Here are pictures of Sylvan Dell’s booth and staff.

Sylvan Dell's Publisher, Lee German is a level-headed businessman who works passionately to promote and sell his author's books.

Sylvan Dell Editorial Director, Donna German. Fun, dedicated to quality--and about to become a grandmother.

L to R: Donna German (editor), Darcy Pattison (author), Rosalyna Toth (Spanish translator for Sylvan Dell books), Terry Jennings (author), Lee German (publisher)

Meet Your Peers. On the convention floor, in sessions and just schmoozing—it’s a great way to meet other authors. We talked about everything: publishing, astronomy, advances from various publishers, Common Core, wolf snails (see Sarah Campbell’s great book), and gross things that animals do (see Melissa Stewart’s great book).

Promote Your Book. I also had a chance to promote my book on the convention floor, and in a session about the Outstanding Science Trade Books. Desert Baths—and my other titles, Prairie Storms and Wisdom, the Midway Albatross—were well received and I was fascinated to see how science teachers talked about it and how they talked about using it in the classroom. This helps me to refine how I create future books.

Network. Before the conference, I emailed various editors to see who might be attending. I wound up with an appointment with one editor and pitched an idea. The result? An invitation to submit. Hurrah!

See the Sights.
The booth across the aisle from us was Sea World. They kept bringing in live animals: bald eagle, pink flamingo, echidna, Magellan Penguins, white spotted sharks. It was a fun place to be.

Magellan Penguin from the Sea World display at the NSTA conference.

Just at dawn, when the birds were calling a greeting to the sun, we strolled by the Alamo. Remember the Alamo! And the NSTA-San Antonio conference.

Darcy, at dawn, at the Alamo.

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