Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How To Pick The Right Conference To Attend

Every month, there are tons of workshops, conferences and classes available for authors. These are chances to learn some new things about the craft, meet with editors and agents and to certainly network for new directions with your career. But, unless you have an magic money machine and an ability to be in more than one place at a time, you will have to make some serious decisions.

I do think that far too many authors make decisions for conferences simply because of the location, and, while this might be a great approach for watching finances, this might not be the best approach to advance your career. The editors and agents attending the conference might not be the best for your career. The workshops might not be what you need to advance your craft. Maybe the conference dynamic is one that doesn't allow the networking you are looking for. In the end, that conference might do absolutely nothing for you in the end.

I always recommend to new authors to make some decisions yearly about attending conferences. This is just like taking a family trip that may really tap into some financial resources. Since this is really one of the biggest factors to start with, decide how much you can afford in a single year. Yes, you will have to plan ahead for this, but it will certainly be well worth it.

Once you get that budget figured out, now it is time to start looking for conferences. This is where you have to look at where your career is at this particular moment. If you are a new author, you might not need to attend workshops with all of those editors and agents to pitch to. The odds are, you might not be ready to pitch yet. Don't worry about it and focus more on the workshops available.

If you are at that point where you are ready to start pitching, you have to investigate which agents and editors are attending. Most of the conferences have websites that are constantly being updated with the visiting professionals. I have said this numerous times here on the blog, but your writing is not going to be a perfect match for every editor and agent. If your targeted editor or agent isn't there, attending that conference might not be worth the money. Sure, you can pitch, but don't count on getting that contract you want. You will notice that I didn't say a request. Unless your story isn't a genre they represent, you will likely get a request for more material. They'll just tell you no later.

You want to make the most of that conference time. You want to spend your money wisely. Sure, you might have "fun" at the conference, but this is a working conference. If you want to take a "fun trip" I would personally encourage you to use that time and money and spend it with your family and friends. And you know something? If you have saved all of that money for your writing conference and there isn't one available that year, save up and use it for the next year. Who knows? You might end up at one even bigger and better!

No comments:

Post a Comment