Now is the time to consider which writing conferences you’ll be attending next year. You want to pay the registration fee before the early bird discount evaporates. With so many conferences out there, how do you choose which ones to attend?
It depends upon your goals. Here are some opportunities offered at writers’ conferences. Which ones apply to you?
- Further your skills by attending craft workshops
- Get updates on industry news and business issues
- Learn the latest marketing tips
- Increase your knowledge of social media
- Pitch your work to editors/agents
- Learn about alternate paths to publishing
- Discover innovative marketing techniques
- Meet fans
- Meet other authors
- Meet librarians
- Meet influencers in the writing community
- Get feedback on your work if manuscript critiques are offered
- Enter a writing contest sponsored by the conference organizers
- Get a new headshot if a photographer will be on-site taking appointments
- Participate in an audio or video segment if available
- Present a workshop or participate on a panel
You don’t want to be stuck in classrooms all day. Most of the benefit at a conference comes from the people you meet. Editors and agents aside, meeting other authors should be one of your prime goals. You can learn so much from each other. Industry personnel, such as bloggers, booksellers and reviewers can be another target to approach. And if it’s a fan conference, by all means target your readers. Chat up everyone you meet in line waiting for meals, sitting next to you in a classroom or at the lunch table. This is not the time to be shy. Choose a table for breakfast or lunch with strangers so you can meet new people. Be gracious, professional, and interested in others. And don’t forget to exchange business cards. Always ask permission before adding anyone to your mailing list.
Some conferences have a hospitality room where you can hang out, drink coffee, and meet other attendees. Frequent this place and come prepared with bookmarks, postcards and swag. Present a friendly face and start a conversation, not so much about your books but perhaps about the conference city, your favorite subgenre, or what you’ve learned so far.
Don’t know what to say? How about, “Is this your first time at XYZ Conference?” Or, “What do you write?” Here’s another: “What sessions have you attended? Did you learn anything new?” And if you’re talking to fans, “What do you like to read? Who are some of your favorite authors?” And remember, writers are readers, too.
So get out there and schmooze. You’ll make new friends, meet readers, and gain lifelong fans. You’ll get the scoop on the publishing biz and learn new techniques to promote your work. Be eager to learn. Be open to new relationships. Be yourself and relax, and you’ll have a great time.Benefits of Writers Conferences #writingcommunity #conferences Click To Tweet
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