|My Romance Writers of America badge|
Phew! That's a lot of travel.
Conferences are a great part of being a writer, in my opinion. Yes, they're often expensive to attend and for introverts (including me) they can be challenging. But the pros far outweigh the cons.
So what are the best bits about attending a writers conference?
- Getting to spend time with my friends that live in other locations. Sometimes conference is the only time I get to see them face to face!
- Meeting readers. Many of the big conferences, like the Romance Writers of America one, have signings where I get to people who read my books. This is always a surreal moment.
- Free books. I try to restrain myself from not filling up my suitcase, but it's tough!
- Meeting editors/agents/publishers and other people whom I often communicate with via email. It's great to speak to the people who help make bring my stories to readers, and to build those relationships.
- Education. These days I don't always make it to a ton of sessions, so I choose wisely. There's so much information to be gleaned from conferences - both from the presentations and from chatting to other authors.
- Being around like-minded people. Being an author is a very unique experience, so chatting with other authors always makes me feel better about the ups and downs this career has to offer.
If you're an aspiring author then I definitely recommend that you attend a conference at least once to see what it's like. If you're a reader, there are plenty of reader-focused events in the writing community such as the RT Booklovers Convention.
Attending a writers conference for the first time and not sure what to expect? Here are my tips:
- If the conference has an app, download it! This will make navigating the schedule so much easier.
- Leave some space in your luggage for books and other goodies that you will inevitably pick up.
- Find some cute and comfy shoes to wear, conference involves a lot more walking that you'd think. Especially if the hotel is big and the events are very spread out.
- Take the opportunity to talk to people. Even if you're shy (don't worry, I am too!) try to say hello to people next to you in the elevator/line/workshop. You're all there for the same reason, so you have inbuilt conversation.
- Keep all your receipts. In many places you can record such activities as deductions from your taxable income even if you are not yet published. For more information, speak to a tax expert in your area.
Have you ever attended a conference before, whether for writing or something else? What's your best tip for new conference goers?