Your Writer’s Career Needs a Boost? Go to a Conference! by Keri Kruspe
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Keri Kruspe as she shares with us “Your Writer’s Career Needs a Boost? Go to a Conference!” Enjoy!
In last month’s article, I talked about listening to different podcasts geared for writers. I really enjoy keeping up to date on the various trends authors have to keep track of. One of the main situations brought up on all of the podcasts were writer’s conferences.
That brought back memories.
When I finished my first novel, it was 2008. I was living in South Lake Tahoe and it just so happened the new group I joined, Romance Writers of America (RWA), was having their annual conference in nearby San Francisco.
Totally unprepared for the wild world of writing, I eagerly signed up and took the four-hour trip to the exotic tundra of the Bay Area. Looking back, I’m a bit embarrassed at the naiveté I had. I was convinced I’d get an editor/publisher/agent to begin my author career right then and there.
It didn’t work out that way.
What did work out was the abundance of first-hand knowledge/advice other authors provided along with the comrade of meeting others like me. Of course, my favorite thing to this day was all the FREE signed copies of books I took home. They are still treasures I jealously guard. Not to mention being a complete fan-dork when I met one of my favorite authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon (nicest person ever!).
Back to the podcasts I mentioned.
In almost every episode of any of them that I listen to, they talk about some convention they’d just attended or were about to attend. That piqued my interest.
What is the Purpose of Attending a Writer’s Conference?
During my research, I came across an article by Scott Allan outlying that very thing. Here are some of the highlights:
- Conferences are usually annual.
- They cover an in-depth agenda featuring experts to share/train on particular topics for authors.
- A place for writers, authors, and publishing professionals to meet and greet.
- Can be hosted according to specific subjects, writing niches, or genres – OR- are more broadly based.
How to Choose Write’s Conference Best for You
In this article, I’m only going to cover some of the “bigger” ones, not necessarily meant for a specific genre or area of the mainland United States. But don’t be fooled, there are wonderful international ones out there I’d love to attend.
Things to consider when making this momentous decision:
- Experience level as a writer or author
- Geographical location
- Topics covered
- Cost to attend
- Event size
Why Attend A Writer’s Conference
- You can connect with professional authors
- Opportunity to network is in abundance
- Investing in your future career
- A helpful way to decide how to publish
- Pitch your book to agents
- Write the whole experience off as a business expense
- Get pro writing tips
- Boosts inspiration and motivates you to write
How to Prepare to Attend a Writer’s Conference
- Bring a business card.
- Bring copies of your book(s).
- Prepare a pitch of your manuscript.
- Research everything about the conference.
- Leave the imposter who thinks they shouldn’t be there at home.
- You deserve to be there… you are a unique and successful writer!
Here Mr. Allan and I part ways. Some of the conferences he listed weren’t the same ones I’d heard on my podcasts. So, in no particular order, are the ones the conferences recommended:
RWA (Romance Writers of America)
Yeah, you knew I was going to mention this one! This is a place where romance writers gather to learn and network about the business of being a romance author. The location changes every year, and it just so happens, it’s once again in San Francisco.
Dates: 7/29 to 8/1
Where: San Francisco
Price: $649 for members, $724 for nonmembers
Speakers: None listed on their website
NINC (Novelists, Inc)
This conference is mentioned a lot in more than one podcast. You have to be a member to go ($15 non-refundable registration, $85.00 annual) – and the criteria to join is out of my reach right now. But if you are part of the group, here’s what I was able to determine:
Dates: 8/23 to 8/27
Where: St. Pete Beach, Fl
Price: Unknown – but assisted registration was $425
Speakers: Tarpon/Sawyer/Long (nothing more specific)
Listed as “Premier Conference for Thriller Enthusiasts.” World renown Joanna Penn talks about this all the time in her podcast!
Dates: 7/7 to 7/11
Where: Grand Hyatt, NY
Price: $155 to $1295
Speakers: Diana Gabaldon/John Sandford/Michael Connelly/Joseph Finder/Veronica Roth
20 Books to Vegas
Another frequent mention in my podcasts, especially from Mark Dawson and the SPF crowd. Part of the “20Booksto50k” crowd. Must be a member to attend.
Dates: 11/20 – 11/12
Where: Sam’s Town, Las Vegas
Price: $199.99 to $299.99
Speakers: Craig Martille/Michael Anderle
AWP Conference and Bookfair
This is the BIG one. AWP’s is now the largest literary conference in North America.
It features over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures. The book fair hosted over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world.
Date: 3/4 – 3/7
Where: San Antonio, TX
Price: $5.00 (book fair only) to $320
Keynote Speaker: Helena Maria Viramontes
Orlando Reads Books – Formally known as Indie Bookfest
In its eighth year, the event focuses both on author continuing education and on reader interaction. They offer workshops, panels, and social events for indie, hybrid and traditionally-published authors.
Date: 8/27 to 8/30
Where: Orlando, FL
Price: $10 to $300
Keynote Speaker: Elana Johnson
In Closing, Some Questions to Ponder
- What is the best conference for me? Local…across country…another country? What size should it be for me to be comfortable?
- Once you find some that you like, decide what draws you that particular event. The speakers? The workshop themes?
- Main thing to consider: are you ready to make that commitment to your future now?
As a creative entrepreneur, you owe it to yourself to scale up your talents while meeting folks with the same mindset.
After writing this article, I’ve decided to look into some local writing conventions.
While I am basically an introvert, I have fond memories of attending the RWA all those years ago.
With a little bit of experience under my belt, it will mean all that much more to me!
It’s past time that I reward myself to experience those awe-inspiring sensations once again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Keri Kruspe has been an author since the age of twelve and has always been fascinated with otherworldly stories that end in Happily Ever After. Author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures, Keri’s first series is An Alien Exchange trilogy. An Alien Exchange is the first book in the arousing Alien Exchange sci-fi romance series. If you like sexy aliens, feisty heroines, and fast-paced action, then you’ll love Keri Kruspe’s steamy space adventure.
Keri now resides with her family in the wilds of Northwestern Michigan. An avid reader, Keri enjoys good wine, good food, and watching action/adventure movies. You can find her most days immersed in her fantasy world of writing or traveling with her hubby in their RV, discovering intelligent life here on Earth. For goodies, news of upcoming releases, sign up for her newsletter at www.kerikruspe.com.