Conference Call for Papers (CFP) Tips

So you have decided you really want to share something, and are going to do a CFP so you can share it as a speaker at a conference, that is great!

Please note, you will get rejected, maybe often, that is OK and it happens to everyone, really! You can keep applying to conferences AND/OR you can:

  • Write a Blog, or a white paper, or an article and pitch it to papers/magazines.

  • Do a YouTube (or twitch or whatever) live-stream, or just release a recording.

  • Don't feel a conference is the only way to share something.

General Advice

  • Make sure to follow all the directions, look to see if they have a sample submission.

  • Read prior years talks, is there a theme or pattern?

  • Look at the events mission and theme and cater to it (but not too much pandering!)

CFP Advice from speakers:

As a reviewer here are some of my rants:

  • Damn it we can tell when you toss shit together in 5 minutes. At least try damn it. You are wasting MULTIPLE peoples time.

  • It is hard, I submit CFPs too, to balance too much information with too little. But without being in your head i need to know what you are planning to go over. is it a high level talk? detailed talk? very technical? help me!

  • Your talk seems like a proposal to talk about how great you are, and little to no benefit (make the attendees great by being able to do the thing you do!).....nah

    • No I don't need to read yet another "how I got from here to there" not saying it isn't inspiring and you aren't great but what takeaway/learning/actions are the audience going to take away, who specifically is your target audience?

  • OK yes this is a place for you to tell me about the thing you are passionate about - but you can't just write an essay. I need to know who is the audience and what will they take away from this?

  • Examples, please! Sometimes i really want to get behind your talk because i agree / feel like the community could benefit but if you don't give me examples i don't know you can actually talk about it in an informed (using facts) and useful way.

  • Consider - have to tried the SCQA (situation, complication, question, answer) pitch method?

Here are comments from other reviewers

Here are some example CFPs - the first has some notes

How do I find a conference to submit to?