From the Midnight Writers Podcast, Episode 7
Adapted by Brittany Thurman
How is a writing conference different from a convention?
While a convention is focused toward fan interests, a writing conference gets into the nuts and bolts of writing, both as a craft and as a business. It is more expensive, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the content. A conference is more intensive than a convention. The networking opportunities are different, as well. You may be given the chance to sit down with agents and editors and get your work critiqued at a conference, either in a group setting or privately. It is a more focused environment, dedicated to helping create successful writers.
More on networking!
With this more focused attention on writing, conferences have several networking benefits. Agents, editors, and fellow authors are all available to talk to and to ask questions. You may have the opportunity for a pitch session, or get an agent or editor asking you to send a manuscript. You can make connections and get introduced to others in the industry. Everyone wants to talk about writing. You never know who you may get into a conversation with in the elevator, over a meal, or at Bar Con, and those conversations can change your life. You might meet a famous author, get invited to pitch an idea to him at lunch, and have his encouragement to write your story!
Although this can be challenging for introverted personalities, it is vital that you show initiative and introduce yourself, talk to people. You have nothing to lose.
At what point in your career do you consider going to a writing conference and making that investment?
There are different types of writing conferences for different stages of your writing career. Conferences geared toward aspiring writers may focus more on the craft and critique of writing, or perhaps getting an idea for what the business of writing really is. If you have been writing for a while and get a lot of good feedback on your work, you may want to consider a conference with a more professional focus, where you can sit down with agents and editors. More experienced writers may want to go to multi-week intensive conferences. Some conferences may focus on a specific topic, such as how self-publishing authors can create their work in different formats or how to improve their business. Do your homework on the different types of conferences to find the one that best fits your needs.
What do I need to prepare for a writing conference?
Be prepared. Know your book well so you do not have to shuffle through your papers in the middle of a conversation. Be clear on your conversational goals. Have business cards and include your website on them. Make sure your website is up to date, as agents or editors may check out your online presence. You can bring query letters or one sheets, as well. Know what you want to get out of the conference and prepare accordingly.
Colorado Springs/Denver-area Writing Conferences
Castle Rock Writers
Colorado Gold Conference
Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference
Superstars Writing Seminars
(Not local) Writing Excuses Cruise