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View Full Version : Writing Conference suggestions & opinions needed please



SJSantiago
08-12-2015, 04:06 AM
So the few literary agents I have read or met have stated that going to writing conferences puts you ahead of the curve.
I just went to my first con over the weekend at Cape Cod and I did find it helpful but very costly. After doing some research today I found that they charged a lot more than the average con.

I am going to one in November in CT that is priced better and only 1 day.
Has anyone else gone to that one?

Have any suggestions on a beneficial one Midwest/east coast to attend?

What are your thoughts, opinions and suggestions on them in general?

Thank you! :)

mrsmig
08-12-2015, 06:36 AM
It depends on what you hope to accomplish by attending a conference.

I attended one several years ago. I thought it was overpriced, the conference leader overbearing, and what little I learned I could have discovered for myself by reading through various threads here at AW and getting my query letter critted in the Share Your Work section.

You might want to check the Bewares, Recommendations and Background Checks subforum index (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?792-INDEX-TO-AGENTS-PUBLISHERS-AND-OTHERS&p=8230076#post8230076) and see if the conference you're interested in has a thread already. Look under Writers' Associations, Communities, Forums & Workshops.

SJSantiago
08-12-2015, 04:46 PM
It depends on what you hope to accomplish by attending a conference.

I attended one several years ago. I thought it was overpriced, the conference leader overbearing, and what little I learned I could have discovered for myself by reading through various threads here at AW and getting my query letter critted in the Share Your Work section.

You might want to check the Bewares, Recommendations and Background Checks subforum index (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?792-INDEX-TO-AGENTS-PUBLISHERS-AND-OTHERS&p=8230076#post8230076) and see if the conference you're interested in has a thread already. Look under Writers' Associations, Communities, Forums & Workshops.

thanks very much I will do that! :)

thehairymob
08-12-2015, 06:17 PM
:hi::hooray:

EileenCook
08-13-2015, 08:20 AM
I don't know the midwest/east coast well (I'm a west coaster) but I can suggest first making a list of what your priorities are. Craft talks? Chance to pitch? Chance to meet a particular author? Then look through what various conferences offer- who are their speakers? Any reviews? If pitching is important is an agent/editor you really want to see going to be there? Can you do more than one pitch? Conferences can be expensive, but they can be a good investment too

Jamesaritchie
08-13-2015, 07:49 PM
For what kind of writing, and for what purpose. You have to pick and choose conferences, seminars, and workshops carefully, according to your individual needs.

If you're open to learning, and if you have any talent at all, conferences, seminars, and workshops can put you way ahead of the curve. Way, way ahead. But you do have to pick and choose conferences base don your individual needs.

It amazes me how too many writers react to spending money on their business, and how they think they don't need the same degree of education any other profession requires. It's shortsighted, at best. Conferences, seminars, and workshops can't help a writer who isn't open to learn, or a writer who simply isn't good at learning, or a writer with no talent. But if you're open, smart, willing to jump in with both feet and work hard, and if you have the talent, these things can put you miles ahead of others.

I learned long ago that one small piece of information, just one little thing, can pay for a conference a hundred times over. This is the same reason I subscribe to writer's magazines. I may read them for a year without finding anything I don't already know, but then I find an article, or now and then one paragraph, that teaches me something brand new, and it pays for the subscription many times over.

I've found pretty much every learning opportunity works the same way. You can't go expecting to come away with all the knowledge you'll ever need, but if you go with an open mind, and come away with just one thing you didn't know before, the conference was worthwhile.

I prefer good, dedicated workshops over conferences, but they're all good, all worthwhile, and most certainly can put you well ahead of the curve, if you have what it takes to be a writer at all.

gettingby
08-13-2015, 09:56 PM
I think conferences, workshops and things like that are great, and I have always found the worth the money. JAR is totally right about being open to learning. I have always gone away feeling like I learned something. It is also a great opportunity to meet other writers and agents. You can really be in the right place at the right time with these things.

I was in the bar after a great conference, hanging out with some of the featured writers. One of my old newspaper friends was one of the speakers at the conference so that kind of brought me into the circle. Then one of their agents joined us. This was all very informal, but I totally made connections that paid off for me. But I don't think you need to know someone who knows someone. Everyone was very approachable both during and after the conference. And I will admit I totally love schmoozing.

If the conference you are thinking about in CT is the one run by the Hartford Courant, it was a really great one when I went. I can't remember the cost, but it did have a lasting effect on me. If that is the one you are talking about, feel free to ask me any questions.

AWP is really great to attend and it happens in a different city every year. I'm not sure where the next one is, but it's worth going.

I recently have been trying to get into the more workshop type of conferences like Tin House and Bread Loaf. These are pretty hard to get in. You have to apply with a writing sample and they are not cheap. I actually took out a loan from school for a few thousand just in case I got in this year. No luck. But I do know some people who have gone to Tin House and loved it. Said it was life changing. With Bread Loaf you can apply to work at the conference to cut down the cost. There are also scholarships for both of these, but those are even more competitive than getting in.

I do see conferences and workshops as an investment in myself and my writing. That justifies the cost for me.