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By Shelle Castles

You may moan and groan at the prospect of going to a writer’s conference. It’s too much money, you may complain. It’s too far away, you mumble to yourself. I don’t need to go to a writer’s conference, you may try to convince yourself.

If you have not attended a writer’s conference before, you are missing out on a wealth of information and contact with people that you wouldn’t have otherwise. If you are serious about your writing career and want to propel yourself forward in knowledge, information, and contacts, a writer’s conference is a perfect place to start.

By attending a writer’s conference, you meet other writers, just like you, who are just beginning their careers or are already published. You can share ideas, garner information from one another, establish friendships, and form camaraderie with other writers. We all know that the writer’s life seems to be an isolated one. A writer’s conference can be your opportunity to communicate with like-minded people, other writers, to encourage and help each other. If you are an established writer, you can help beginning writers with your insights and meet writers who are established in other markets.

The potential to make new business contacts, whether through other writers, editors, publishers, or agents, are big incentives to attending writer’s conferences. You may meet the agent of your dreams; you may strike up a conversation with a publisher who is interested in your genre. You may build a relationship with a published author who can put you in touch with editors who can help you.

By taking advantage of the information provided at a writer’s conference through free newsletters, writer’s guidelines, free magazines, and classes, you can come home full of fresh ideas and a mountain of information that will have you writing for weeks on end. You can garner new information about your writing career that you never thought to ask about. You can ask questions and get answers to get you well on your way to stop getting those dreaded rejection slips and turn downs.

When you attend a writer’s conference, be prepared. Be professional. Have clips ready, if you have any, to show people when they ask what you write. Have your book proposal neat and clean on hand for any publishers or agents that you may meet. Bring business cards with your website address so that the contacts you make can read your writing later. Do not complain about your writing or the amount of rejection slips that you have been getting to other writers, you could be discouraging to a beginner.

Be courteous to the speakers at the conference. You don’t want to monopolize their time. It’s okay to be brief about your writing and what you’re working towards. You may get lucky and that speaker could have a contact person that they could put you in touch with. But no speaker wants to spend thirty minutes listening to your monologue about the pile of rejection letters you have received from the “stupid” publishers about your Great American Novel.

The power of attending a writer’s conference is in your hands. Do you really want to refuse an opportunity to jump-start your career? Do you really want to miss out on meeting people who can help you get where you want to be? Do you really think that getting the motivation and inspiration you may need is too costly? Are you really too busy?


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