So, I’ve studied English for years. I thought that surely with a BA and an MA in English, I don’t really need to go to a writer’s conference…right? Not because I didn’t feel like I didn’t have anything to learn from it, but because sometimes writers’ conferences can be a bit expensive and it uses vacation days from work, so it’s a big investment. I had already spent seven years of my life and money towards my English degrees, so why should I spend more money to finally begin the dream of becoming an author?
Because it gets you connected on so many different levels!
- Contacts. Pursuing a career in writing can be depressing at first, but by going to a writer’s conference, you will meet hundreds of people that are on the same path as you following their dream to become an author. It is an amazing feeling to walk into a room filled with writers. You can feel the creativity in the air. It is exciting and nerve wrecking to meet the authors that you have read for years and new authors that you haven’t read before and the thing is that everyone is there to meet others and to lend a helping hand. Veteran authors help the new writers by whispering advise in between sessions and direct you on meeting other established authors in the genre that you want write. Also, if you don’t know much about the importance of networking or how to even start networking, a writer’s conference will give you the tools that you need to begin networking in the writing world starting with contacts with fellow writers, critique groups, agents, editors and new friends.
- Teachers. While I was at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, I took a morning workshop under T. Davis Bunn, whom I have been reading since I was a little girl. Imagine being able to sit at the feet of one the most successful Christian fiction authors and being able to ask questions and receive invaluable information and input. There is a world of helpful tools for authors promoting their books and the workshop teachers will help you to know how to find them and utilize them.
- Confidence. After pitching (or in my case, learning how to pitch) all week, you begin to build confidence on how to give a 30 second elevator pitch, which could lead to an appointment with an agent or editor. This is your time to get feedback from the people you’ve been dying to get to read your work. The agents. Whether it is good or bad news, it is just plain nice to be able to get a few minutes of face to face time with your dream agency. They can give you pointers on how to adjust your writing to make it a better fit for an agency or just help you know sooner rather than later if they are interested enough in your piece to take a closer looker at it by requesting your manuscript.
- Direction. With all of this new or refreshed information, your writing passion is renewed and you have a clear direction on which step to take next and more importantly, how to take it.
I know I sound like a commercial, but going to a writer’s conference is worth the investment of time and money. I decided in October 2014 to go to a conference in March 2015 and I budgeted for about five months to go, so save up and try to attend! If you still can’t swing it, Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference offers some scholarships for financial aid that you might want to check into before shutting the door completely. The next Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference is in Mount Hermon, CA on March 18-22, 2016.
One of my favorite agencies recommends the OCW Conference, which takes place in Portland, Oregon. Check it out soon because the early bird rates end in July!
While at Mt. Hermon, other authors recommended the ACFW Conference that is held in Nashville, Tennessee on August 25-28, 2016. However, I did hear that it was much more crowded and hectic compared to the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, but it is definitely another good opportunity to pitch to agents and editors!
I’ve also heard great things about The Storyline Conference. The “How to Tell a Story” workshop with New York Times Best-Seller author Donald Miller is on the third day. Check it out!
What other writer’s conference would you recommend? Which one is your favorite?
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