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I’ve been to my share of writer’s conferences and I have to say I learned a lot from them. When I first started getting serious about being a writer, I looked for places where I could gain insight into all facets of becoming a writer and published author.
Writer’s conferences vary with content, speakers and outcomes. If you’re a beginning writer and are looking for guidance on the process of writing, how to write, knowledge of the different genres, story development, and more, I can think of no better place to start than by attending a writers’ conference.
The format of the conference will begin with a noteworthy keynote speaker; usually a known published author talking about how they got their first break and all the rejection letters they received before they landed their first book deal. This author will be a great inspiration for all the attendees whether they are published or just beginning their writing career.
Then the conference will be broken into “break-out” sessions that may include, Writing Fiction or Nonfiction, Magazine Writing, Finding An Agent, Know Your Audience, Marketing and Publicity and more. While you can choose to attend several of these, you won’t have a chance to attend all of them; you’ll be limited as to the number you can partake in because of the times each class is offered. Nonetheless, you’ll be able to get a good beginner’s sense of what it takes to become a writer.
During the breaks and over lunch, be sure to mingle and introduce yourself to those at your table. Engage in productive conversation about the publishing industry, and work the room for contacts. You may be sitting next to an agent or editor who would be a perfect match for your writing.
If you’re already published, but are looking for help in honing your craft or searching for new writing outlets, writer’s conferences are a good resource for you, too. Mingle with established authors, agents, editors, publishers, public relations firms, and book packagers. Be prepared to hand out your business card or promotional materials on yourself or upcoming book.
For more ideas about writers’ conferences, check out the book, NETWORKING AT WRITER’S CONFERENCES, From Contacts to Contracts by Steven D. Spratt and Lee G. Spratt.
Researching writer’s conferences couldn’t be easier as there are many websites. There's also one site that has most of the worthwhile conferences posted: http://writing.shawguides.com/