If you haven’t signed up already, now is a great time to consider attending a writers’ conference. From New York City to San Francisco, some of the best conferences of the year are held as early in the year as February, and you don’t want to miss out.
Writers’ conferences can be incredibly intimidating. I have to admit, I was more than a little sick to my stomach for a full week before I attended my first one. That said, thank goodness Shelly talked, okay pushed, me in to going all those years ago.
The theme of the conference I choose was, “We will help you suck less”…and boy did they ever. I went in to the Southern California Writers’ Conference with the rough draft of my first manuscript and walked out with a whole new perspective on how to reshape my true story into a proper book. I also met one of my dearest friends, who is now a bestselling author. We formed a our own little writers’ group shortly thereafter with another writer from the conference and have been exchanging rough drafts and encouraging each other’s writing ever since.
Conferences are also a great place to show off your polished work. That soon-to-be best-selling author friend of mine I met at the SoCal Writers’ Conference? She grabbed the attention of a publisher during the conference and it led to her first book deal. Most new writers’ won’t walk away with a publishing house in their back pocket, but it is an excellent opportunity to meet agents and editors, and get a much deeper understanding of the way they work and make decisions.
If you’re wondering which is best to attend, I recommend choosing a location nearby. There are hundreds of writers’ conferences across the nation. If you’re looking to improve your writing and meet new writer buddies, do your research and you should be able to find one that doesn’t require a plane ticket and overnight hotel stay. If you want to go big because you are looking for the greatest exposure, the following is a list of some of the biggest: Willamette Writers Conference (Portland), San Francisco Writers Conference, Writers’ Digest Conference in New York and Los Angeles, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference (Denver), Agents and Editors Conference (Austin), South Carolina Writers Workshop (Myrtle Beach), and the Muse & the Marketplace (Boston).
Have you attended a writers’ conference before? We would love to hear about your experience!