Monday, March 6, 2017

The Benefits of Writers Conferences

A popular post from March 2008

By Heather Moore

Writing can be a solitary activity. Well, we wish it is solitary--but there are many of life’s interruptions along the way (sometimes every three minutes it seems).

When I first started writing, I had no idea there were Writers Conferences. So when I joined my local writing chapter, I found I had a lot to learn. I had written two novels by the time I went to my first Writers Conference and this is what I learned:

1. Marketing—authors don’t just write, they market.
2. Agents—the first agent I met was in his early 20’s—this kid was going to accept or reject my very fine, mature work?
3. Self-publishing—an option I’d never thought of.
4. Vanity publishers—I met two at the conference. Glad I didn’t submit.
5. Shoes—dress to impress, but do so with comfortable shoes no matter what.
6. Advil—I’m glad I had some along. I wasn’t used to absorbing so much information in a two-day period.
7. Writing Contests—enter them if you can. It’s a great way to get feedback.
8. Networking—people that I met over seven years ago are still my friends.

Now that I have a few books published, and have attended half-a-dozen conferences, my advice is as follows:

1. Marketing—ask the published authors you meet what are the top three effective marketing tools they use.
2. Agents—make appointments with them if possible. Have a list of questions for them in addition to the manuscript you're pitching. Remember most agents find their clients through writers conferences or referrals.
3. Self-publishing—a more viable option for many. Learn from the experts first though, since there are many considerations.
4. Vanity publishers—still don’t submit.
5. Shoes—wear warm socks, too. The conference rooms can be very cold.
6. Excedrin—takes away the head ache faster.
7. Writing Contests—the feedback from an unbiased judge can be invaluable. But remember, it’s still subjective.
8. Networking—no matter how many books you have out, it's still important to network. Make new friends and pass on your own advice. The writing world is very small and can catch up with you fast. Also, volunteer to help at the next writer’s conference. Give back as much as you have received.

Most importantly, you come home with a head full of fresh ideas and re-energized to get back to writing. You realize that writing is not so solitary as you first thought.


Annette Lyon said...

Great lessons--couldn't agree more.

paul maurice martin said...

Google "Victoria Strauss" for great advice on publishing realities and scams - she has a site called Writer Beware and also a blog she does with someone whose last name is Krispin I think.

No relation/acquaintance of mine, she's just one of the most reliable online sources of writing I happen to have run into as a severely disabled housebound person who has had to pick up most of what I learned online.

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks, Paul. I've read some of her blogs--she does have great advice.

In fact, I referred to her here when I found myself approached by a questionable agent:

Thanks for the reminder!

Becky said...

Thanks for the advice--I have my first (non-fiction) book out and a second has been accepted, but I feel like I still have a ton to learn.