Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Conferences: The Best Time to Go

Conferences.  Conferences.  Conferences.  Many writers attend them.  Many authors recommend them.  But when is a good time to go?  Should you jump right in before you’re written your first book?  Should you wait until you’re ready to query?  Maybe you shouldn’t go until you have a novel to pitch?  Perhaps you should hold off until you have an agent and can meet her there?  Or maybe it doesn’t even make sense to go unless you have a book to promote?

I suppose I could argue that a writer could go to a writing conference at any one of those times on her writing journey.  She simply has to decide what she wants out of the conference and go from there.

A beginner will certainly learn a lot from the workshops and meeting other writers.  An intermediate is still learning and would benefit from networking as well.  Some people love to pitch their stories in person, while others prefer querying.  And who’d want to pass up the opportunity to meet with their agent in person and/or promote their book?

Seriously, is there ever a bad time to go?  For those of you who’ve attended writing conferences, what do you suggest?


  1. I agree with you, the best time to attend a writer's conference is at any point in your writing journey.

    Of course, you should take the expenses into consideration and whether or not you should wait until perhaps you're a little farther down in your journey. But for me, it was worth it. I attended my first (and so far my only) writing conferences last May, at the beginning of my writing journey. I went there to learn more about the industry, and that's exactly what I got out of it. I was still in the process of writing my novel, so I only brought the first few chapters with me - which was enough to spark interest in a publisher, who a few months later offered me a contract. I also met wonderful people, as well as an editor who offered me to write teen devotions for their website.

    I honestly didn't think the writing conference would be that beneficial for my writing career, especially since I was obviously the youngest out of everyone there and a "newbie". But it was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to attending the same conference in two months. =)

  2. Nope, I don't think there is a bad time to go! I went to my first conference without a finished novel, just looking to learn and meet people. I'm going this year with a finished novel to meet professionals, learn some more, and strengthen the writing relationships I've been building.

    I agree that everyone, at every stage of their career, can benefit from a conference. My favorite thing is meeting people and making connections-- never underestimate the power of people!

  3. For me, the quetion isn't so much when but which. For a newbie trying to maximize her time and conference budget dollars, the selection is overwhelming.

  4. I'd love to go to one! I'm at the beginning stages, but I've learned so much through the internet and my writing & blogging buddies. I know I could learn a TON from a conference too!

  5. I'm with Linda. It's not when you go, it's which one. Some conferences are way better than others. Ask around. Other writers will know which ones are a better choice for your dollar. But keep in mind that some conferences are better than others in certain areas.
    Some really focus on newbie stuff. Not much help from an intermediate or advanced writer.

    But then, networking is always as important as what you learn in the classes.

    Just be prepared for bad food and food poisoning. ;)

  6. Thanks for sharing, everyone! Amber: Too funny... or scary. Yikes!

    Lynnette Labelle

  7. I have not had the opportunity to attend any yet and I have written a manuscript and working on several other projects. I don't know what stage to say is best to start for sure but agree that any can be beneficial. I know that I will attend some this year for sure. Great post. Thanks for sharing.