One of the things we talk about here at SVP is finding those things we can comfortably do to promote our books and concentrate on them. For many introverts, teaching workshops is a great way to get out among the masses and mingle and network (or at least pretend to) and keep the attention comfortably away from US. It’s not about us, it’s about the workshop: it’s about point of view or setting or query letters or plotting or writing humor.
But how does one propose a workshop gig?
Well, the good news is you don’t have to get down on your knee! If you’ve been writing a while you are no doubt familiar with the big conferences in your genre. Most writers’ organizations have big annual conferences: MWA, SFWA, RWA, Novelists Inc., SCBWI. Many of these also have regions or chapters as well, and those often have chapter meetings or daylong workshops. In fact, if you’ve never given a workshop before, that can be a much more comfortable place for breaking in. Their websites often list those major conferences and some of the smaller ones as well. Check those listings for deadlines to submit, contact people, etc.
Even better, much of the contact with conference organizers takes place via email--many introverts favorite means of communication.
Once you’ve identified the conferences you’d like to target, you need to put together a workshop proposal. Think of the workshop proposal as a query letter for your workshop. You want to put your best, most professional foot forward, as well as hook your audience, in this case the conference organizers.
A conference proposal should probably include:
1) A paragraph introducing yourself and why you think your workshop would be a great fit their conference. Have you attended their conference for years now? Studied the topic ad nauseum? Conducted an online version of the workshop that was well received? Be sure and connect the dots for them as to why your topic or the angle on your topic is so perfect for their attendees.
2) A title for your workshop and a log line describing it. Just like a book, this should both be as descriptive and catchy as you can make them. It might end up being be the blurb they include in their brochure.
3) Next comes the more in depth description of what exactly you’ll be covering, who the intended audience is (beginning writers, intermediate, etc.) what tools you’ll be using. Be sure to focus on any angle that sets your workshop apart from others covering similar topics.
4) Also mention if you’ve given this exact workshop before, or whether you’ve given others on different subjects.
5) It’s never a bad idea to include some exercises and handouts you’ll be using. They can be an excellent sales tool in helping the conference organizer get a feel for the breadth and depth and angle of what you’ll be presenting to the class.
6) Include your bio as a writer, but also why you’re qualified to give this workshop.
And if the idea of giving a workshop makes you break out in a cold sweat? You have the Shrinking Violets' permission to let it go. It's not the right promotional activity for you. But don't worry--we'll keep looking until we find one that works . . .