Learning, Connecting, and Networking: 3 Benefits of Writers' Conferences
The idea of going to a writers' conference can be intimidating. Especially if you're a new writer or you've never been to a conference before.
But writers' conferences aren't meant to be intimidating. Instead, they offer writers opportunities for learning, connecting, and networking.
Self-published author La'Sean Hall went to her first writers' conference for the learning experience.
"I learned a lot," she said. "When I first published, I didn’t really know anything about it, and I got taken advantage of. By going to a conference, I was able to figure out where I made my mistakes."
MJ Hague, who is also a self-published author, recommends going to a writers' conference because it allows you to see what all is involved in the publishing process and learn from people who work in the publishing industry.
"When I went to my first conference, I was able to get a better grasp of the bigger picture of what it means to be a traditionally published author, as well as a self-published author," he said.
Freelance journalist Crystal Hayduk attended her first writers' conference to learn how to be a better writer:
"The first few I attended were primarily for new information about HOW to write. HOW to find places that would publish my articles, HOW to inquire about their interest, HOW to format the articles."
In addition to being educational, writers' conferences provide opportunities to connect with other writers.
Crystal found that writers' conferences allowed her to meet likeminded people. "It helped me to know that my writer weirdness wasn’t unique to me," she said.
Like Crystal, retreat planner, book reviewer, author, and speaker, Sally Ferguson has met people who "get" her at writers' conferences. "Writers’ conferences have connected me to so many new friends and reaffirmed my calling," she said.
For La'Sean, connecting with other writers pushed her to consider publishing again after being burned by a bad experience with a self-publishing company.
"I went to a couple of sessions and they were awesome, but I think hob-knobbing with other writers was the thing that pushed me," she said. "I thought 'This is something you love to do, just go ahead and do it.'"
Attending writers' conferences has allowed MJ to pick the brains of well-known writers and learn who they are and what makes them tick. "It's not just seeing these people in a room, but shaking hands with them, having lunch with them," he said
Writers' conferences also provide networking opportunities, which are important for new writers who want to break into the industry.
"There are so many writers trying to break in, and connecting with other writers, editors, and publishers face-to-face is really the only way to break in," said editor, writer, and writing coach Sue Fairchild.
At his first conference, MJ connected with the company that did the audiobook for his novel. "I had an opportunity to dig in and get some face-to-face time," he said. "It was really cool because I got a fairly well-known author and speaker to read my book. It was a bit of a fanboy moment for me."
If you’re still not convinced that a writers’ conference is right for you, you can check out these resources for more information.
And if you still have questions about writers’ conferences, drop them in the comments below!