New authors might fear attending a writers conference. Seasoned writers may think they don’t need to go to conferences anymore. It’s worth reconsidering.

New writers might fear attending a conference. Seasoned writers may think they don’t need to go to conferences anymore. But I would like to argue that every writer should dare to attend one conference per year.

It doesn’t have to be a huge, 1,000-attendee extravaganza, but try to make it more than a Christmas party for your writer’s group. You want to make yourself attend a conference where:

  1. You meet new authors.
  2. You hear new presenters.
  3. You have the ability to receive a critique.
  4. You have chat time with other writers.

I’ve been to many conferences. Some are better than others, but keep in mind I’m viewing it from the standpoint of a presenter. I’d love to attend a function where I wander around meeting others who are lost like me, or seeking answers to writing problems. I want to sit at the same table as someone who’s at my level of writing and publishing. And I want to be accessible to teachers willing to explain an issue to me, or tell me if I’m on the right track.

Who you’ll meet at a writers conference

We develop a hunger for our kind. That not only means writers in general, but also writers who:

1) write in our genre

2) write part-time or full-time like us

3) started later in life

4) just left college and don’t know where to turn

5) self-published instead of traditionally published

6) remain stubborn for a traditional contract

7) like agents

8) don’t like agents

9) prefer ebooks

10) won grants and contests

11) have great blogs

12) make social networking work

13) place their books into bookstores

14) attend retreats and know how to get their way paid

I’m sure you can add to the list, but what we want is to exchange thoughts with others who have our same doubts . . . while seeking similar dreams.

In other words, they get you . . . and you get them.

You know how rare those people are in your real world.  Conferences rejuvenate you, but they also help you deduce whether you’re on the right track. They open doors.

What kinds of career-building opportunities happen at a writers conference?

1) A published writer meets another published writer and learns more about selling foreign or film rights.

2) A struggling writer meets one more experience who has a fantastic blog and offers an opportunity to guest post.

3) You analyze the way author tables are decorated and develop some great ideas for a new banner.

4) You study business cards and bookmarks handed out and see why yours aren’t cutting the mustard.

5) You hear about new magazines seeking freelancers and decide to pitch a few.

6) You become friends with a bookstore owner who offers to stock your book in his store after the conference, maybe offer you a signing event.

7) You offer to volunteer next year at the conference in exchange for your conference fees being paid.

The opportunities are endless! Just go to a conference, and choose to learn and network. You will walk away with enough ideas to keep your muse pumped for months to come.
 

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C. Hope Clark

About C. Hope Clark

C. Hope Clark has written 13 posts in this blog.

C. Hope Clark is editor of the award-winning FundsforWriters.com website, and her newsletters go out each Friday to 35K readers. FundsforWriters has been chosen by Writer's Digest for its "101 Best Websites for Writers" for the past 16 years. Hope is also a hybrid author, having indie published The Shy Writer Reborn (distributed by BookBaby) and The Best of FundsforWriters, and traditionally published two mystery series: The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries (Bell Bridge Books). Her freelancing covers a decade in such publications as Writer's Digest, The Writer, TURF, Landscape Management, American Careers, Writer's Market, Guide to Literary Agents, and more.

16 thoughts on “One Writers Conference Can Be All the Catalyst You Need

  1. Marie Gates says:

    Excellent advice. I attend the Rochester Writers’ Conference every year and benefit from current news for writers. I also enjoy meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends.

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