Recently I've thought about New Year’s resolutions writers can implement to make 2016 their best writing year yet. One of those resolutions was to get connected, and one way to do that is by going to a writers conference.
Column by Tomi Adeyemi, a Los Angeles writer and blogger currently
querying her debut novel, THE KEEPERS. You can find her on Twitter
and online at tomiadeyemi.com, where she provides weekly blog posts
and writing resources to help authors achieve their writing dreams.
What’s a Writers Conference?
Great question. Writers conferences are annual gatherings all across the world where writers come together to learn from successful authors, literary agents, and editors.
Through a series of lectures, panels, and workshops, writers at every stage of their writing career get to socialize, network, improve their craft, and make significant inroads in the world of publishing.
Why Should You Go?
If everything above wasn’t enough to convince you, the reasons below will.
At every writers conference you have the opportunity to hear from best-selling authors, top literary agents, and excellent editors who will demystify the publishing industry and give you great advice, no matter where you are in your writing career or what you’re currently struggling with.
Every speaker is there to help you and answer any questions you might have, whether it’s during a panel or bumping into someone in the bathroom.
Topics that are often covered at writing conferences include:
- How to Break Into Publishing
- How to Get A Literary Agent
- Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing
- The Future of the Publishing Industry
- How to Build An Author Platform
- The Business of Being An Author
- How to Improve Your Craft
- How To Pitch Your Novel
- and more
In addition to panels and lectures, several writing conferences feature workshop sessions or agent/editor appointments where you can get real time feedback on a select number of pages in your manuscript or advice on how to improve your query letter.
The knowledge and insights you can get in just one day at a writer’s conference make it worth the trip.
If you’ve read 7 Kick-Ass Tips from 7 Best-Selling YA Authors, then you know that James Dashner (author of the best selling book series and multi-million dollar movie franchise, The Maze Runner) said:
“Networking is key. Almost every author I know—and certainly myself included—can trace their publishing success back to someone they met at a writers conference. If you want to get published, I can’t think of any better advice.”
As writers, our craft makes us sit alone at a desk and hammer away at our novel. Doing that day in and day out makes it really easy to forget that there’s a whole community of writers out there and they love contributing to other writers’ success!
At any conference you could meet a new critique partner who helps whip your manuscript into shape, or befriend a published author who offers to e-mail your manuscript to her agent. At every conference, you’re surrounded by people who can take your writing career to the next level.
If you want to be traditionally published, then you most likely want to get a literary agent. To sign with an agent you need to send them a query letter, but agents can get up to 20,000 query letters a year.
With numbers like that, it helps to get in front of agents with every opportunity you have.
At several conferences you can sign up for a 5–10 minute window to pitch your manuscript to an agent looking for new clients! In that time you get to make your query letter come alive, show those agents why your manuscript is something they want to read.
If done right, an agent (or multiple agents!) will request pages from your manuscript that they’ll be eager to read as soon as the conference is over!
Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 24, 2017: The Alabama Writers Conference (Birmingham, AL)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- March 25, 2017: Kansas City Writing Workshop (Kansas City, MO)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- April 22, 2017: Get Published in Kentucky Conference (Louisville, KY)
- April 22, 2017: New Orleans Writers Conference (New Orleans, LA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- May 19–21, 2017: PennWriters Conference (Pittsburgh, PA)
- June 24, 2017: The Writing Workshop of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer's Digest Conference (New York, NY)
Do you have an idea for a great novel? Are you at a loss
for where to start? Look no further. You Can Write a
Novel, 2nd Edition, gives you concrete, proven
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Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:
- An Old Idea Can Still Be A Good Idea.
- How To Overcome The Sophomore Slump; Author Jolina Petersheim Shares 5 Tips.
- Successful Queries: Literary Agent Jim McCarthy and The Midnight Thief.
- Agent Spotlight: Jessica Watterson (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency) seeks Women's Fiction, Adult and New Adult Romance.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and writing a query letter.