Why is Booklab getting involved in pre-conference planning? Simple -- our authors make deals there. University presses are well-represented at most major academic conferences, and it can be a great place to make contact with an editor at a top-tier press who might be interested in publishing your field-specific book.
But don't just show up at the conference and expect to get a meeting. Although that can happen, the odds are against you given how busy most publishers are at their booths, how challenging it can be for you to present your concept quickly and effectively, and also what a brief time many university press editors actually spend at the conference; some just fly in and out -- you'll often find other staff actually working the booths for the full days, depending on the press and the importance of the conference.
The best way to approach a conference with a book is to come to one of Booklab's faculty author groups and ask about pre-conference planning. This is always done in a group setting rather than one-on-one, so that your colleagues can benefit from the discussion. You'll learn how to think about university press editors and their lists, how to craft a conference package that will get an editor's attention, and what to say to the editor long before the conference (as much as several months ahead) that will get you the meeting you want.
The image above comes from Yale University Press's web site, and it shows some of the staff at the Ecological Society of America meeting in San Jose, 2007.