Tis the season to be con’ing!
Between spring and summer, the writing world fills with many extravagant events near and far. Conferences for Adult lit, for Kidlit, for illustrators, and educators, for librarians and bloggers. Conferences everywhere!
These writerly festivals are expensive investments, there’s no doubt about that. So for everyone who has never been to a conference, the biggest question you’re facing likely revolves around: is this conference worth the money?
There are several factors to consider. Travel expenses, hotel expenses, and tickets to the con are the basic payments you will likely need to make. Attending a conference close to home will reduce these costs while attending one further away from where you live will increase your spending. It’s a lot to consider.
Is either extreme worth doing? What about those in-between? Or the big name conferences (YAllfest, RT, BEA, etc)?
All of these are valid questions, but I think it’s most important to focus on what you’ll gain from attending.
Connections: Holy book fun Batman! You’re at a writing conference! So are a bunch of other wordfolk! Without really trying you’re going to connect with a whole host of different people from the industry. Writers, editors, agents, readers, etc. Chat around, make impressions and you’re likely to stick in people’s mind for later when you tweet/query/sub/etc.
Resources: There’s bound to be somewhere you can buy books at this event. Seek them out and you’ll find things to help with your craft, to read in your genre, read outside your genre, learn from other authors, and many other forms of book knowledge.
Inside Information: Get yourself to the nearest panel. Trust me. These tidbits come from industry insiders and may help clear up misconceptions or concerns you might have had that would have otherwise gone unexplained. While there’s plenty to learn from books and peers, sometimes that extra level of publishing expertise is invaluable.
Friends: While everyone attending is theoretically on a business trip, conferences are also a great way to meet new writer friends! They might spring up from the most random conversation or a chance seating arrangement. The people you meet might becomes CPs, betas, or all around friends. They might even be the people you end up going to other conferences with!
Undoubtedly money is a factor and can make or break your decision. If you can’t afford a conference but want to attend, there are some scholarships floating around. However you get there, in some way, large or small, these conferences will help move your writing career forward so do your homework and find one (or more!) that work best!
If you’ve been to a conference before, which one was it? Would you recommend it to a friend? Please share 🙂