Thursday, October 2, 2014

Writing Conferences

A book signing at the James River Writers Annual Conference.
Caitlin here. I’m going to talk a bit about writing conferences, mostly because I’m excited to be going to the James River Writers Conference in a few weeks! 

My goals for this conference are to really hone in on some aspects of my craft that need some work, figure out some additional strategies for preparing for my book launch in February, and, of course, trying to make friends with writerly folks. 

I’ve only been to a few conferences before, and they’ve ranged from large, genre book focused events to smaller, literary journal focused events. While the content and feel of these conferences has varied, they’ve all left me re-energized and excited to keep writing and publishing. 

As we all know, writing can be solitary, and that’s okay, but it’s so great to be able to connect in person with new people over a shared passion. So, even though the travel costs and registration fees can dig into my wallet, my loose goal is to go to one or two a year.

How do you feel about conferences? What goals do you set for yourself (if any)? Do you have any advice for conference-goers?

Dan: I've not been to a writing convention myself, though I've heard wonderful things about the Dallas/Fort Worth Writers' Conference (DFWcon). In SF/F we also have the convention (or "con"), which brings together authors, celebrities, and fans of science fiction and/or fantasy. I'm headed to my first such con (ARCHON 38) this weekend to be a panelist, and have no idea what to expect.

Tex Thompson, who's the editor for DFWcon and a veteran of these things, suggested meeting up with (or making new) friends throughout a convention, so that you have someone to talk to / have lunch with / introduce new people.

Karlie: I haven't been to one either. I've heard wonderful things about them though, and I can't wait to attend one in the future. I don't really have a lot to contribute here, except don't be shy! Mix and mingle with as many people as possible - you won't regret it.

Lisa: I've never been to a confernce, though I'm looking diligently for one.My problem is how long they are. Some are a three-day weekend and some are even a week long. However, I have found in my research that you don't have to attend the whole thing nor do you have to pay for it all. There are workshops scheduled that you may have no interest in. For example, mystery workshop. If you write romance, you might not have any desire to sit in on that workshop. So why pay for it? You might find that other things conflict with your desires or schedule as well, and that's when it's best to pay a la carte. So, I guess in my research I have figured out one thing: only pay for what you're interested or able to participate in.

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