Attending a Writing Conference?


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Once again I have to thankย Amy for suggesting that I write about this. I just steal her ideas whenever I wake up and don’t feel like using my brain to come up with something else.

As I’m sure you all know, writing conferences happen all across the country pretty much year round. I’ve never been to one, but I’d think authors, publishers, and agents would all be in attendance. Probably editors too. There might be lectures and writing contests and other things to make it interesting. That all sounds fine and dandy, but what do you get from attending a conference?

This is a question that I’ll likely need your help with. Cause I don’t know. I mean, I suppose you get to meet all those people who are already working in the industry. And you might get some writing advice. But is that it? Cause I’ve looked into one that takes place in Austin every year and it is expensive. I’m just wondering if these conferences are even worth what you pay to get inside the door.

I mean, how much can an unknown author really get out of an event that lasts a weekend or a few days? Maybe there are people out there who claim that they got some great insight into the world of publishing during that time, but I just don’t see it.

I don’t know if this is considered a writing conference, but the only one I’d really want to attend is probably Book Expo America. What about you? Have you ever been to a writing conference? What did you take away from it?

42 thoughts on “Attending a Writing Conference?

  1. I went to my first writer’s conference last weekend (Writer’s digest in NYC), and I got so much out of it – learned so much about publishing (traditional, self, partner), marketing/business aspects of writing, and meta-data/bisac codes. Plus I met a lot of great people. I say go for it. Try it out at least once…better to go and to know than to kick yourself for not trying. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. I heard of one for education majors (which I am not) and current teachers (which I am not going to be) but I wanted to go because apparently, for that specific one, the entrance fee paid for hundreds of dollars worth in books. They gave you huge boxes of books upon leaving, all “free” of charge. I like free books. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. You’re very right about them being pricy – the one in my state is $300, and that’s without pitch sessions and other add-ons. I’ll go to one someday, but only once I have a polished manuscript.


  4. I’ve attended over 40. No, I didn’t pay for them but attended as a professional. Yes they are expensive and, depending on which one you attend and where, they can be beneficial or a waste of your hard earned money. Yes, you can meet agents and editors there. They do consults with you, but at some conferences, you pay extra for consults. These can run over $25 each per 10 minute consult.

    There’s too much to comment on here, but I’ll be blogging on the subject soon. You can read me at The Gatekeeper’s Diary. Google on it.

    Thanks John for giving me an idea.


  5. Well… I’m glad I can help a friend out in their time of need. Steal away, Wordsmith! Steal away!

    And I’ve never been to a conference, mostly because they cost WAY too much money. It’s extortion in my book. So the only way I’ll be able to afford one, unless I get a great deal, is either when I make a bajillion dollars (and in that case, I don’t think I’d need the conference), or if someone gifts it to me at Christmas or my birthday. Either way, it’s unlikely that I’ll be attending one any time soon. Plus, there are NEVER any near me. The closest ones are at least 8 hours away and/or on a weekend that I’m not available.

    I’m sure I could learn a thing or two from them, but I can also learn a lot from interacting with other writers via blogs or reading books on writing, which I already do. Take that, conferences! ๐Ÿ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I thought it would give you an opportunity to pitch ideas to an agent in person, but I could be completely wrong about that. I think it’s more of an agent/editor/established author thing than a beginner author thing


    • I know agents are there. I don’t know how much you get to interact. And even if you do pay for a consult, think of how little time you have with them. Just a few minutes.


  7. Fifteen minutes of focused feedback from an experienced agent or established author is better than no time at all.

    From what I’ve read, though, the true benefit of a writers’ conference comes from meeting people in the industry outside of the scheduled lectures. The meat of the experience is in socializing. Of course, like college, what you get out of your time might depend on your ability to network and talk to people in person.

    And, yeah, money could be an issue. Another writer commented on my blog about how she didn’t attend conferences because she thought the price was too high, and how she solved that problem by creating her own conference series.

    I say you should give it a try. It’s an investment in yourself. Of course, I won’t have gone to my first conference until late next month. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. I host a biannual writers’ conference in NYC, and while there are agents for writers to pitch to and publishers and best-selling authors sharing tips, my main goal is for writers to meet other writers. Writing is such a lonely pursuit, and meeting a kindred spirit can mean the difference between just starting a project and actually publishing it. If you can, I’d love you to come to my conference (, but if not, I know you’ll get a lot out of most conferences. Investing money in your craft can push you to the next level!


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