Thursday, April 18, 2013

One Writer's Conference Could be Your Catalyst

Why attending a writers conference will take your career to the next level

*This article was written by C. Hope Clark, editor of and originally appeared here.

New writers might fear attending a conference. Seasoned writers may think they don’t need to go to conferences anymore. But I would like to argue that every writer should dare to attend one conference per year.
It doesn’t have to be a huge, 1,000-attendee extravaganza, but try to make it more than a Christmas party for your writer’s group. You want to make yourself attend a conference where:
1) You meet new authors.
2) You hear new presenters.
3) You have the ability to receive a critique.
4) You have chat time with other writers.
I’ve been to many conferences. Some are better than others, but keep in mind I’m viewing it from the standpoint of a presenter. I’d love to attend a function where I wander around meeting others who are lost like me, or seeking answers to writing problems. I want to sit at the same table as someone who’s at my level of writing and publishing. And I want to be accessible to teachers willing to explain an issue to me, or tell me if I’m on the right track.

Who you’ll meet at a writers conference

We develop a hunger for our kind. That not only means writers in general, but also writers who:
1) write in our genre
2) write part-time or full-time like us
3) started later in life
4) just left college and don’t know where to turn
5) self-published instead of traditionally published
6) remain stubborn for a traditional contract
7) like agents
8) don’t like agents
9) prefer ebooks
10) won grants and contests
11) have great blogs
12) make social networking work
13) place their books into bookstores
14) attend retreats and know how to get their way paid
I’m sure you can add to the list, but what we want is to exchange thoughts with others who have our same doubts . . . while seeking similar dreams.
In other words, they get you . . . and you get them.
You know how rare those people are in your real world.  Conferences rejuvenate you, but they also help you deduce whether you’re on the right track. They open doors.

What kinds of career-building opportunities happen at a writers conference?

1) A published writer meets another published writer and learns more about selling foreign or film rights.
2) A struggling writer meets one more experience who has a fantastic blog and offers an opportunity to guest post.
3) You analyze the way author tables are decorated and develop some great ideas for a new banner.
4) You study business cards and bookmarks handed out and see why yours aren’t cutting the mustard.
5) You hear about new magazines seeking freelancers and decide to pitch a few.
6) You become friends with a bookstore owner who offers to stock your book in his store after the conference, maybe offer you a signing event.
7) You offer to volunteer next year at the conference in exchange for your conference fees being paid.
The opportunities are endless! Just go to a conference, and choose to learn and network. You will walk away with enough ideas to keep your muse pumped for months to come.
BIO: C. Hope Clark is editor of chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the last 12 years. She’s author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series. Lowcountry Bribe released in February 2012, with book two (Tidewater Murder) coming out in mid-April 2013. And she’s also author of The Shy Writerand The Shy Writer Reborn. Her freelance work has appeared in Writer’s Market 2013, Guide to Literary Agents 2011 and 2012, Writer’s Digest and The Writer Magazine. and  Twitter @hopeclark

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