Writer’s Conferences, Are they for you?

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a writer say that once is enough when it comes to writer’s conference, and although I never really went into a debate about it I didn’t agree with that statement. I have always been convinced that when it comes to time management writers need to be careful not to invest more time on conferences, workshops and critique groups than writing. Having said that I believe that no writer can ever be so experienced that they can totally be exempt from learning something new, or updating themselves on what is going on in the publishing Industry.

This past weekend I attended the Florida Writer’s Association’s Plantation Mini-Conference. The last time that I had attended a writer’s event was back in the summer of 2010 when I attended the Writer’s, Publishers and Agents conference in Austin. Since I was a little disappointed on my last conference due to the lack of helpful information shared by the panelists when it came to publicizing and promoting books, I was curious to see if the level of information sharing would be the same at a different conference. Although there wasn’t any panelist representing the publicity process, I must say that I was very pleased about the quantity and detail of the information facilitated to all of the attendees, but that was not all I would discover. To my surprise, I found that although I have been writing and publishing since 1996, and doing publicity since 2009, I had still a lot of room to learn and grow. Yes, I realized that I didn’t know enough, and   found the workshops I attended very helpful; so much so that I needed to share my new insight with all of you. Following are some tips on choosing and attending writer’s conferences.

·         When it comes to choosing which conference to attend most of us look at location and cost. However, I believe the first thing to do is to look into the topics and panelists and determine what we currently need to take us to the next level. Then look for the conferences that offer those topics and choose from there considering the location and costs.  

  • Try to sign up ahead of time to take advantage of early bird discounted fees.
  • Choose a location where you have friends or family where you can crash for the duration of the conference to save on costs.
  • Go in there with a plan to attend the workshops that you need. Greet the panelists at the end of the workshop so that you can get a short one on one with your questions.
  • Bring plenty business cards to share and take a lot of business cards from the panelists and vendors. You might need some of those contacts during or after publishing your book.
  • Be friendly, conferences are not the right time to be shy. Meet and chat other writers, you will be surprised on how many new ideas and insights you will get from your peers.
  • Relax and enjoy yourself. Writing is such an isolating career; take this opportunity to enjoy the company of people that have the same interest in writing than you. Open up to the experience so that the benefits of it are evident when you go back to work!