You may have heard of Eroticon, the sex blogging and erotica writing conference organized yearly by the amazing Ruby Kiddell. Well, I’m saying *may*… there’s a pretty good chance you’ve not only heard of it, you’ve also been.
Eroticon was first held in 2012, after being a glint in Ruby’s eye for quite some time. This August sees its fourth UK edition (fifth overall, counting Eroticon USA) and, as well as people who have now become regular delegates (and even regular speakers) there are also, as always, some people who haven’t been yet.
If this is you, then, hi there! Hopefully, you’re not too nervous – and there’s not a lot to be nervous about, really. But just in case, I’ve got some tips for you, to make the best out of your Eroticon 2015 experience.
1) Come to the pre-conference meet and greet on Friday evening
If you’re in Bristol from Friday evening, the meet and greet at the Radisson Blu is a good, informal way of relaxing into the atmosphere of the conference. Come and mingle with newbies and veterans alike, have a chat, get to know new people and know that you’re welcome here.
2) Bring a notebook and a pen (or two)
Speaks for itself, because you’ll want to take notes during the sessions. Some speakers might have notes to hand out afterwards, so if this is the case and you didn’t catch everthing, don’t be afraid to ask if they have.
Bonus tip: when you’re making notes, don’t try and write out full sentences. Instead, bullet points and short sentences are your friend.
3) Having a cup of coffee/tea/bottle of Pepsi to hand takes the edge off networking
This is a personal preference of mine, so it might not work for you. Nevertheless, if you feel a bit nervous about this whole networking thing, try getting a cup of coffee/tea or a drink and doing the rounds with it in your hand. It will keep you from fidgeting too much, and you can always put it down to give someone your business card/email address/anything.
4) Use your conference programme
And by that, I mean that the conference programme will have a summary of not only the sessions going on, but where they are taking place. Tick the ones you want to attend so you know where you need to be for those particular sessions. The conference venue is pretty straightforward, so you won’t have a hard time finding the rooms.
5) Find someone who has done this before
As I mentioned, there will be plenty of people in attendance who have been to Eroticon before. If you’re not sure about what to do, where to go or who to talk to, try finding someone who has been before to help you along. Always with their consent, of course.
6) Wear what you’re comfortable in
Keep in mind that we’re in shared venues, but overall, wear what you feel comfortable in. Sneakers, jeans, t-shirt? Go for it (I will!)
My personal tip is to wear comfortable shoes during the conference (and maybe even during the meet and greet) and, if you’re coming to the cocktails on Saturday, go all out and put your gladrags on.
7) Follow up on the contacts you’ve made
Whether they be fellow bloggers/writers you like, people who would like to help you with anything/collaborate with you or just people you want to hear more of. Give them a Twitter follow. Read their blog. Find a couple of their books. Email them and remind them of who you are and why you’d like to work with them.
8) Remember to have some decompression time if needed
Go for a smoke if you smoke, get some air if you don’t, go for a short walk, go for a post-day-1 lie-down, go for a nose around Bristol after the last session of the day. Options are endless. Self-care is important, so if you feel like you need a bit of you time, take it.
And most of all, know that none of us bite (unless asked to, of course). Eroticon is a safe and non-judgemental conference, and the things you learn about writing (both erotic fiction and non-fiction sex writing) are things that will genuinely help you on the way. The friendships, the community spirit, the creative kick-up-the-arse, the sharing of knowledge, the atmosphere… there’s a lot of potential awesomeness just waiting to happen.
If any of my lovely readers who have attended Eroticon in the past want to add some tips, feel free to leave them in the comments. And, yeah… see you on the 1st of August (or the 31st of July, really).