Every time I attend a writing conference I am reminded of
why I write. My encouragement to every writer, no matter their age or
experience, is to attend conferences. There is never a time in your writing career
that you evolve out of writing conferences. It is a place to hone your craft and network with other like-minded people.
Basic reasons for attending
You gain knowledge of the business of writing through workshops and classes which cover a variety of subjects. Basic techniques for writing non-fiction and fiction books are usually offered. Classes are available on subjects ranging from writing articles to creating a stellar proposal. The opportunity to have appointments with publishers, editors and agents to pitch your story or idea is worth the price of the conference. Many of these editors, publishers and agents will not take any unsolicited submissions. But if you meet them at a conference, your pitch may garner you an open invitation to submit.
Conferences are a networking opportunity to meet other writers and be encouraged. One writer might direct you to a particular publisher who is seeking what you are writing. Established writers may give you personal introductions to the professionals you are seeking appointments with. Fledgling writers ask questions of other writers and get the encouragement and direction needed to turn their scribbles into successful submissions. You’ll discover writers who live in your area or alocal writer’s group to join.
This is the place where everyone speaks your language. No one rolls their eyes when you say you’ve written a novel. You can practice your pitch with other
writers before you pitch it at your appointment. Most conferences have critique groups of your peers to help you improve your writing. Unlike Aunt Sally who loves everything you write, they can tell you of any red flags in your writing that need fixing. That kind of encouragement makes the road to publication easier.
The keynote speakers remind writers of their calling. A writer’s revival if you will, that helps each writer refocus. Rekindling the confidence that has been chipped away by editors’ rejections and life happens interruptions.
Every time you attend a conference you make new friends and
reconnect with old ones. Writer friends add dimension to your life and open doors. Becoming friends with publishers that may not be interested in what you are writing now plants your name in their mind when the publisher’s needs change. Acquisition Editors change publishing houses, agents may open their own company. Having made their acquaintance puts you in a good position to become a client. Writer friends share the link to your new book or article on their blog, website or facebook page. Let’s not forget they are there
when you feel stomped on by life and misunderstood in the industry.
Budget attending one conference a year
Serious writers know this is an important business expense. Decide on the conference you plan to attend early and put money aside in your budget for it. If your finances are so tight you can’t fit the cost in a monthly budget, apply for scholarships or grants. Conferences will offer a limited number of scholarships, either full or partial to attendees. Some offer work scholarships for locals who help with the preconference preparation. Do a Google search for writer’s grants or reference the Writer’s Market Guide and the Christian Writer’s Market Guide to pursue grant leads. The e-newsletter Funds for Writers has grant information
in every issue.
Locate a conference near you
The Sally Stuart Conference Guide http://stuartmarket.com/Conferences.aspx
is a great resource for finding the conference that is right for you.