Thursday, May 25, 2006

Writers Conferences - Some Favorites

There's been some discussion on the Five Star Authors email loop about writers conferences. Some authors enjoy them, others don't.

I happen to like writers conferences. But my reasons for going and what I take away from them has changed over the years. Early on, when I first began thinking about writing a book, I attended conferences for the classes. I went to every session I could, took copious notes, horded the handouts, bought tapes of the classes I didn't attend, and spent my evenings thinking about and applying what I'd learned that day. No parties or socializing for me! I was there to learn. With a vengeance!

Later, I scheduled one-on-one appointments with editors and agents. I used my eight or ten minutes to ask them what they were acquiring, if there was anything in particular they were looking for, and I pitched my story ideas. For me, conferences are extremely valuable. It keeps me up to date on the market, and I'm able to hear it directly from the editors. I met my agent at a conference. I pitched her, she liked what she heard, and she signed me.

But all conferences aren't the same. Some are huge affairs with thousands of people attending, others are deliberately small and intimate. Here are some of my favorites:

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers - This is held in Denver. It's a big conference with writers and presenters from all genres. They feature a lot of sessions about law enforcement and criminology. Very helpful for those writing crime, suspense or thrillers. You'll hear some famous name authors there, too.

San Diego State University Conference - This takes place in January, a time of year you'd rather be in San Diego than almost anywhere else. This, too, is a big conference, and similar to RMFW.

Desert Rose RWA Conference - This one is held every other year in Phoenix. It's a smaller conference, about 250 people. The focus is on romance writing and a lot of big time editors and agents attend. Registration fills up quickly as people come from all over the country and Canada.

Trois Riviere Fiction Writers Conference - This is a very small, boutique type conference, limited to about thirty attendees, and the slots fill up fast. Because it's so small, the editors and agents are very accessible and approachable. That's kind of the point of this conference. At the last one held in April, someone organized an impromptu reading in the hotel lobby that was attended by writers and editors. Some of the editors were writers, too, and read from their own work. A chance to get to know them in an informal setting. It's held in Farmington, New Mexico every other year.

I'd be interested in hearing about some of your favorite writers conferences, and why you like them.

Next blog I'll update you on my list of "100 Things To Do Before I Die." I may be able to check off one of the items. Nothing definite yet. I'll let you know. Send me your suggestions for exciting or interesting things to add.

1 comment:

Bulldoglvr said...

Ahhh attending conferences ... I just got done reading Stephen King's "On Writing." He thinks you don't need a writing class or seminar, but he does admit that it is a great place to make contacts and is a place where you can feel good. He notes that writing is a lonely job and sometimes not really encouraged by family or friends. Here you can meet a group of people trying to reach the same goal as yourself.

I haven't attended any seminars yet, but I look forward to them. I think meeting people is one of the the keys to getting your book published. I also think anything I can learn to make my writing better is a bonus!