This past weekend I attended the Windsor International Writers Conference – and what an experience that was! Not only was this my first time attending a writers conference, but it was also my first time attending that kind of event as a publisher, which as it turns out, adds a whole new perspective to the whole thing.
The biggest barriers to attending an event like this are fairly obvious. People often have the following misconceptions.:
- There aren’t any near me
- I won’t learn anything I don’t already know
- It’s not worth the expense
Well, first of all, there are A LOT of writers conferences and similar events. There are genre specific ones, and general ones. There are some that are members only and some that are for everybody. And, if you’re local to us there’s now one in Windsor, so you won’t have to travel very far. If you do have to travel, or the one you want to go to is further away, sometimes it is worth the trip anyways, even if you only go once. There were a number of people I met at the Windsor International Writers Conference who had come as far as Seattle, or Little Rock, Arkansas and these people brought a different perspective with them and were well worth meeting.
For the second point, it is simply untrue. Writing is an art and as such it is something that you should always be working at improving. It is also a very solitary undertaking most of the time, so it helps to get out of your head and meet people who get what it’s like to do what you do. And on the publishing side of things, there is always so much to learn. The industry is constantly evolving and if you are a writer who wants to see their books on the shelves, then you need to make connections within the industry or at the very least learn what it takes to bring your book to market as a self-publisher.
Lastly, the most common objection I hear is about the cost. The actual figures vary from conference to conference and I agree that on the surface they look a little high, but now having been to a conference I can tell you with no hesitation – you are getting your money’s worth.
Here’s an example of what registration (incl. Pre-conference and post-conference) covered at the 2016 Windsor International Writers Conference:
~2 roundtable intensive workshops with a publisher or agent.
~Optional 1 on 1 meetings with publishers or agents of your choice.
~Several Panels featuring publishers, agents, authors, and editors
~All meals and beverages during the official hours of the conference
~A welcome bag including pens, paper, and a program
~Guest speakers on various topics incl. Branding, blogging, researching, self-publishing, query letters, synopsis, perspective, and voice.
~Entertainment in the evenings incl. Music, theater, and a Mexican fiesta.
~Workshops, incl. Poetry and screenwriting.
~Contests for poetry, short story, opening paragraph, and descriptions. The winners of which were awarded free attendance to next year’s conference.
I hope that helps to clarify the value of a writers conference. If you’d like to know more, come back next week (or subscribe to this blog) for part two of this post when I share my experience as a publisher at this event.
In the meantime, I would like to remind you all that the Cover Reveal for Elizabeth J. M. Walker’s This Night Sucks is this Friday, the 13th here on the blog and then next week Black Lightning by K.S. Jones goes live on May 17th! It’s not too late to pre-order this book. In fact, you can do so here.