I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Mine was great. I enjoyed the nice weather and got to go to the Mad Anthony Writer's Conference on Saturday.
Writer's Conferences are great places to make contacts and market your writing. Attending them is a great way to connect with agents and editors as well as fellow writers. There are usually lots of great workshops and seminars about honing your writings skills and the business of writing.
I learned quite a bit talking to other writers at Saturdays event. Most people thought the workshops were great, but a few people I talked to mentioned that they were frustrated by the contradictory information they received at some of the seminars. I found this to be a very interesting observation. The publishing industry is somewhat unique in that the decision about what book will sell or won't sell can often be influenced by personal reactions to the content. Agents and editors are, of course, people after all and will obviously have unique personalities. So the experience one writer might have in getting their work published will of course be different than one someone else has. All of this contradictory advice can be very frustrating if you are trying to break in and are looking for advice. I think it's best to approach Writer's Conferences with an open mind, make as many contacts as you can, listen to all of the advice and at the end of the day decide what works best for you.
Reminder: the most important thing about attending a Writer's Conference is the connections you'll make.
Here's a great conference opportunity coming up: The Writer's Digest Books Writer's Conference in Los Angeles, CA, Wednesday May 28, 2008. It's a great conference with workshops and panels throughout the day and a 2 hour pitch-slam where you'll get the chance to pitch your book idea to agents.