Conferences, Are They Worth It?

The short answer is “yes,” but the real question is why are they?

Even after attending several of these, you wonder if you will learn anything new. But as usual, your doubts are put to rest after a conference speaker or two has presented.

Perhaps you are interested in taking the traditional route. Conferences allow you to meet with literary agents on a one-to-one basis. You can pitch your work and see if they believe your story has prospects either in the marketplace or in your ability to tell a good story. Often you bring a synopsis and at least a chapter for them to examine, but other times you just pitch your story. One writer I know has been pursuing this path for a number of years, and an agent at last week’s Nebraska Writers Guild conference requested to see more of her work.

However, today’s conferences also include a lot of advantages for the self-published author. They put you in touch with professionals in the business, such as in graphic design and marketing. One such speaker was a publishing guru and book designer Joel Friedlander.

He spoke on the benefits of each online social media from Facebook, to Twitter, to Goodreads, to YouTube, to LinkedIn to having a blog, stating blogs are the best resource. It is your hub where you can promote, post new ideas, conduct surveys and more, he said. Additionally, he believed LinkedIn to be extremely value in “gaining reputations” through its discussion formats, in being able to ask questions and in building a niche network.

Additionally, these professionals asked the audience which sold better e-books or print books? The audience replied, “e-books.” But these experts said the opposite. Thus, those brick and mortar bookstores are not going out of business soon. In fact, young people prefer print books, but adults favor e-books for their ability to enlarge print size, turn pages for those with arthritis and other e-book features, the field representatives said.

Conferences also allow attendees to interact with their cohorts – writers published or new to the craft. At this conference, there was a Friday night event where those who wanted to could read from their works. You cannot believe the great talent and variety of genres exhibited, such as poetry, memoirs, fancies, romances and humorous pieces. In addition, you got time to sell your books if you wished to do so on Saturday. If going to attend, why not sell your book(s)? You have nothing to lose since you are there anyway.

One thing I loved was putting a face to names seen on the e-mail loop. Nothing is better then talking with other writers, finding out where they are in the writing process and sharing experiences.

Finally, thank those who did the volunteer work to put the conference together. It takes time and a lot of effort from registering participants, preparing name tags, finding speakers, securing a facility and setting up the room.

So once again, get yourself to a conference even if you think there is nothing new to ascertain. You will not be disappointed. See you there and God bless.

7 Comments

  1. There was a conference near school one time, but I couldn’t go because of a scheduling conflict. Maybe next time though. I’ll even print out cards and stuff for it, direct people to my blog to check out my work. Maybe they’ll go for it.

    1. Go for it. You will find a treasure chest of information. God bless.

      1. And hopefully a treasure chest of readers. God bless you too.

  2. What might be a great post is speaking more about the advantages of having a blog. I realize a blog isn’t for everyone (and I think there are some authors who do better without one), but for those who have a blog, it’d be nice to hear the speakers’ tips on what to do with one. How can we best use it as our hub? 😀 And another great post might be about LinkedIn. I don’t use it, but maybe someone on here would be interested if they had an idea of what to use it for.

    I think the best benefit of conferences is meeting people. You never know if you’ll start a friendship or even future partnership with someone. 😀

    1. Yes, the networking aspect is very beneficial as well as the new information you learn. Good post ideas, Ruth. God bless.

  3. Gwen says:

    I just attended my first conference and picked up so much information. E-publishing and self-publishing were certainly recurring themes. The great thing about conferences is you can pick and choose the workshops/sessions you want to attend, which tailors the offerings to individual learning needs.

  4. Rohan 7 Things says:

    I’ve never been to a conference but it sounds like it’s well worth it!

    Thanks for sharing this info 🙂

    Rohan.

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