Talk Back: Are writing conferences necessary?

On my Kindle: Manhunting by Jennifer Crusie

Talk Back – Tell us how you write!


What do you think? Now that Jenn has made us all totally jealous with her RWA photos, I feel like I am totally missing out.

Yet, unlike her, I have no real reasons to justify the price of going to a writing conference right now. I don’t have any book to sign, no agent or editor to meet and while I would love to learn more about the craft by attending the many workshops offered, the benefits would not outset the costs for me at this time. If I’d go, it would be a total splurge just for a little time out and to meet all my writer friends.

And I’m afraid that right now I don’t think attending writing conferences are necessary for me to reach my current goal (make a sale).

That said, this is only my own opinion and I may totally be wrong. So I turn to you for input. Do you think writers need to go to writer conferences to meet their goals? Is it different for writers at different stages of their careers? Are some conferences more useful than others?

What is your experience and thoughts on this?

Much love,
Marie-Claude xoxox

Location:Seattle

8 Responses to Talk Back: Are writing conferences necessary?

  1. jbrayweber says:

    Every single time I go to conference, I gain an invaluable contact, I learn something new, and I’m making myself known to others. Of course, I’m also meeting up with friends and making new ones. But I think, if you can afford it, a conference is very much a necessity in a writer’s career, wherever they are in that career, for the above reasons. The key here with me is that I’m not going to a conference to make a sale. While many others do, there are other, cheaper ways with submissions and contests. And going to conference to make a sale should not be the sole reason attending. Nor should it be a big reason to attend.

    You do not have to meet your goals by going to a conference. But when you do go, opportunities can arise and open doors.I’m speaking only from experience. You can still make contacts, learn a new writing technique, and the like, without attending a costly conference.

    That said, the tides, they are a-changing. This past RWA conference had a weighted focus on self-publishing which I think was a real eye-opener for many.

    Next year, I will be attending RT for the first time. I’m excited by this because I have not attended a con geared for readers – and it will be held close by in New Orleans. I will also be attending RWA’s conference again (My 6th in a row). It will be held in my neck of the woods (Texas) and having both RT and RWA so close will alleviate a lot of cost for me.

    I do hope we can meet at a conference someday, MC. What fun we will have.

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  2. Thanks for your thoughts and input, Jenn!
    It’s hard to figure this out unless you’ve been there. I’m still toying with going to ECWC in Seattle in the fall. Cost is low – and perhaps benefits much higher than I originally thought.
    One thing I always get after a conference is motivation. It’s like a dose of good medicine to keep me pumped up for the year.
    I do hope to meet up at RWA soon! Maybe ext summer 🙂

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  3. Everything Jenn said, plus, if you consider yourself a professional writer, you should attend professional conferences. Last year was my first year at RWA Nationals (I’d only been writing for a year), and although I didn’t have a book to pitch, nor did I have a book out, I gained a great deal of industry knowledge from it, and it shows you are serious about your job as an author.

    It amazes me that authors ask, should I attend a conference? Do I need business cards? This is a huge business. Romance novels gross over 1 billion dollars a year! Start treating yourself like a professional.

    Tweeted.

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  4. 🙂 thanks for the input Ella! I still haven’t made it to RWA which I think is the best place for a first conference for romance writers. I really wished I could have afforded it this year. Saving my pennies…
    Thanks for the tweet!

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  5. You’re welcome. I joined RWA just in time to not be able to attend the NY conference, so I went to the NJ conf and then Spring Fling in Chicago. It was nice having the smaller conferences under my belt before I went to Nationals.

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  6. jbrayweber says:

    LOL! Thanks, Ella.
    And, yes, MC. You SHOULD consider going to ECWC. There is loads of value to it. If it were closer, I’d go. 😉

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  7. Yes Jenn ECWC is my fave conference. I’ve been a few times now and got so much out of it each time. I have 2 months to decide 🙂

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  8. Marie-Claude, if you’re nervous, I suggest starting small by attending a chapter conference. I’ll be attending my third chapter conference this year. Like Jenn said, the experiences and the contacts are invaluable. Also, like Ella said, it helps you in being a professional writer, even if its just how you view yourself. Plus, though the workshops covered points I already knew, they created an A-HA moment for me and my writing has improved. Jenn helped me a ton before my first Lonestar conference. I recommend attending at least a small one. I can’t justify the cost of the larger ones yet, but I’ll be there next year!

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