Monday, October 18, 2010

WC- not just a toilet!

Monday! What's on my mind?

Writers Conferences. (As opposed to Water Closet aka toilet- although some people might argue they go to both with their crap...)

Last week, I swore up and down that every writer should make a supreme effort to attend one. So here are a few general thoughts on the subject.

Things to look for when choosing a conference

- Price. Okay, admittedly, I do know of a writer's conference that can run up to $2,500, but most of them are not in that range. You're not going to a conference every weekend. And this is an investment in your future. (Maybe even a tax-deductable one.) Pick a conference early and save for it. Most of us are in a position to put aside a $50 or $100 each month.

- Make-up. Is the conference lecture intensive? Or does it have more hands-on workshops? Or is it more of a "let's write together" thing (a retreat)? Which type works best for you?

- Location. Ideally, the conference will be nearby, cutting down on travel and possibly accommodation costs. You can also try looking for conferences near family or close friends, to save on accommodation. (Accommodation and travel are the biggest costs outside of the actual conference.)

- Who will be there? Will there be big name authors, agents and editors? Will an agent or author that you admire be in attendance? How important is that at this stage in your publication process?

- Access. Will there be an opportunity for one on one time (or small group conversations) with authors, agents or editors?

- Size. This ties into makeup and access. How many people generally attend the conference? How many will be in each workshop/seminar/session? With a smaller size, you also have a chance to develop personal relationships with the attendees. With a bigger size, you've got a greater variety of people in attendance.

- Length. How many days is the conference? How much time can you afford to be at a conference?

Here are a couple of places that you can find info on writers conferences, mostly in the US of A.

New Pages
Poets and Writers
Shaw Guides

Things to do before a conference.
- If you're going to be in small sessions or one on one with publishing professionals, you may want to read something(s) they've written, represented or editted.

- Read the conference website/ info packet thoroughly. Make sure you have all the things you'll need to bring- a WIP, a complete MS, raw beef for the Cerberus that guards the Great Gates of Publishing, whatever they ask for.

- Read the schedule. Conference schedules are often packed. You may want to line up which sessions you'd like to go to before hand. Once again some of them may require you to bring things or make some advance preparations.

- Gather materials. You'll want to take several pens, a notebook or two, maybe your laptop. Make sure you've got everything.

Well there you have it. Writers Conference in a nutshell. Hope you choose to go. It's an unforgettable experience!


E.J. Wesley said...

Nice tips, Claire. This is one area where I get a big FAIL. I've not yet attended a live conference. I plan to in the next year, and I agree that you almost have to look at it as essential professional development or you'll never set aside the time/money to go.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

What a handy list of tips. I've gone to smaller conferences and enjoyed them a lot. WriteOnCon was amazing since it cost nothing and you could just stay at home! But sometimes, it's good to get out. Retreats with small groups working together would be my dream conference, I think.