Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting The Most Out Of Conferences

Conference season lite has started, and there will only be more throughout the Winter and Spring, so I figured I'd do a little series on what the best practices are for a conference. For reference, I'll be attending:

Backspace Writer's Conference November 3 - 4 2011
Oklahoma Writer's Federation May 5 - 3 2012
DFW Writer's Conference May 19 & 20 2012

And I'm also going to be teaching a webinar for Writer's Digest sometime this winter. More on that soon!

For our first installment, I thought I'd start with why one even goes to a writer's conference. What's the point? Does anyone actually get signed off of a pitch session???

Well, maybe. It's hard to say whether verbal pitch sessions are really all that great for authors...more on that in subsequent posts. But conferences are excellent places to get other things accomplished: to ask industry people the questions to which you can't find answers. To talk face-to-face with people with whom you have chatted here and there on Facebook or Twitter or via email. To find Beta Readers.

Conferences are excellent resources for your writing career...even if you don't come out of it with any new insights on your craft (although I bet you do). Panels and impromptu conversations at conferences give you a better handle on the Industry as a whole, which makes you a more astute and appealing queryer to agents or a more prepared self-publishing candidate. They're also amazing networking events.

I highly recommend them!

In the next few days, we'll address how to go in to a conference well prepared, how to deal with pitch sessions, how to work the room, and how to go to panels. Any specific questions leaping out at you already?? I'll try to tailor the posts.


  1. Fabulous! I'm off to a conference in 3 weeks, so I can use this. :)

  2. What? No Pennwriter's Conference?

    Sad. :-(

    I pitched once. It was too nerve-wracking and I froze. I enjoyed conferences much more after I decided formal pitching was out. I found it much easier to talk to agents informally. If you're the type who freezes up when pitching, don't schedule a pitch session. You'll run into agents all throughout the conference. Ask them how they're enjoying the con, or mention how much you enjoyed the session they just taught, and chances are they'll ask you about your book. No stress!