I've been on the verge of attending a conference for ages. It always seems like I become aware of a great conference about two days before it happens, and I use that as an excuse not to make the jump. That happened again just a few weeks ago, but I met another SheWriter who DID go to the conference, and I asked her to write about it on my blog.
I think it's a big leap for new(er) writers, but Jessica's experience was awesome. And it's inspired me to set a goal: I will go to a writers conference within the next year! Yes, I'm giving myself plenty of time :)
Do you guys have favorite conferences you have attended? Or are you still on the fence, too?
You can read about Jessica's pretty awesome experience at the Backspace conference here:
Thank you, Jessica!
I've never been to a writer's conference. What exactly happens at one?
I've only been to the one (Backspace), but I'm glad I went. You get so much information about the writing and publishing business, and from people who have been in the business for a while, as well as people who are just starting out. At Backspace, we met agents, authors and publicists who sat on panel discussions, led workshops, conducted critique sessions, and even mixed and mingled with us between the sessions. I loved it, but I don't have any other conferences to compare with it.
Hi Regina :)
They sound interesting! I might just have to find one somewhere nearby. Only problem is I don't have money so I wouldn't be able to pay to get into one.
@Linnea: Find one and call well in advance to see if they need volunteers to help run the event. You'll have to work part of it, but you can usually attend some of the panels and you'll meet people and see the inner workings. It's a great way to get access when budgets are tight.
That's great info! Thanks :D Maybe I'll try that some time.
I was at the Backspace Writers Conference with Jessica. I thought it was pretty awesome. I highly recommend it, if you can fit it into your schedule and budget. There were so many people there at so many different stages in their writing and publishing efforts, the energy they all had and feedback that they offered were amazing. We met agents, authors, publicists, and of course, tons of other authors. I think it was a great investment. We made so many contacts with agents and other authors. I was pooped at the end of it, but was worth it.
Nice to meet you, Regina! I saw you in Jessica's pics from the conference. You each had that "this is awesome" glow about you.
Nice to meet you! And yes, it was pretty awesome. I hope others get a chance to check it out, or one like it. I found that the agents and authors seem to look at you in a different light when you attend conferences. It seems to let them know that you're serious about the work and getting it out there. Several of them reminded us to mention in our queries that we met them at Backspace. Not sure how far that will go, but at least it will get them to read the query. :)
You're right, they did -- several agents independently said they like to know an author is "serious" about learning more about the art and the business by attending a conference. Several agents also said Backspace is their favorite conference.
I've been to a few and I always get something out of the experience. Most recently I attended the National Black Writers Conference (I posted about it: http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blog/list?user=2ted82ak7g0q7). In addition to the knowledge from the speakers, the interactions with other writers can be very rewarding. Also, getting the chance to meet the various vendors (often small press publishers and authors) gives you great insight into what's getting published and what publishers are looking for. NewPages.com has an almost endless list of conferences across the country.
Thanks for sharing that info, Melanie. I'm going to look into the National Black Writers Conference, too. I love the idea of connecting with other writers, as well as agents and vendors.
Hey Jessica and Melanie, Thanks for sharing.
I too have been riding the conference fence using the excuse that I don't have a finished manuscript yet. Oh, and that whole coming up with the money conundrum.
Nevertheless, I am aiming to attending one next year. I'm considering these (a plus, most have scholarships you can apply for) http://www.yale.edu/summer/writing/, http://www.wesleyan.edu/writing/conference/scholarship.html, http://capecodwriterscenter.org/conference/, http://www.middlebury.edu/blwc, http://grubstreet.org/index.php?id=1865