Writer's conferences?

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hulbertsfriend
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Writer's conferences?

Post by hulbertsfriend » August 27th, 2010, 6:23 pm

Had a look at a few writers conferences. Are there any that are notable? How about the Southern California Writers Conference this September? Is attending a conference worthwhile?
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Down the well
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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Down the well » August 27th, 2010, 6:48 pm

You might want to check out this other thread on writer's conferences in All Things Writing. It might offer some info. Don't know about the Southern California Conference, though.


viewtopic.php?f=2&t=980

I love going to conferences. If you stay local it doesn't have to be a budget-buster. Workshops can be great for jump-starting ideas, and the personal contact you make with agents and editors can make a difference when it comes to submitting.

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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by JuiceinLA » September 2nd, 2010, 7:05 pm

Hi there I have signed up for, and will attend the SCWC this year, so I can report back.

The first question I think you have to ask is what do you hope to gain from it: networking? Skills workshops? Agent/Editor meetings? In trying to decide to attend a conference, I had to determine what I expected to gain. At this point in my process, I am shopping for an agent and trying to get my word count down to fit my genre. So my goals are: representation/editing, and to get a real assessment as to whether or not the book is publishable through ordinary avenues. I sined up to have two of the more well known agents/editors read my first 50 pages and give critique.

Accordingly, it was important to me to find a conference that had some prominent editors and agents who like to edit their authors works. This conference has options for one on one time with a couple of agents and editors who seem to be right up my alley.

If I were looking or representation, I might not attend this conference but would look to something in New York, or the San Francisco conference in February where they conduct the "Speed dating" event where authors get to "speed date" agents. I kind of wish I were going to the San Fran conference, because it seems like they have a huge agent/editor list of prominent people in the industry. Maybe if I haven't landed an agent by then!

good luck!

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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by bglee » September 15th, 2010, 9:08 pm

I'm attending the San Francisco conference in February. I didn't see Curtis Brown on the list of agencies. I was wondering if Nathan were planning on attending. I just came across this website.

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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by steve » September 15th, 2010, 11:08 pm

hulbertsfriend wrote:Is attending a conference worthwhile?

I'd like to hear more responses to this.

It occurs to me that few non-dentists go to dentist conferences.

Why do so many unpublished, never-will-be-published people go to writer's conferences?

To me, it seems like a scam.

Unless of course, you go as a fan to meet authors.

I've been to Readercon three times, because friends of mine who write novels are on panels, and I like to heckle them from the audience. It's a good excuse for us friends who live in different parts of the world to get together for a weekend and drink and have a good time.

Readercon rules because it is for the fans, not the feckless aspirants.

Tell me I'm being cynical about other writer's conferences.
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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 15th, 2010, 11:40 pm

I think it depends a lot on the conference and what you're hoping to get out of it. It's not a ticket to representation, but at a good conference you'll do have the opportunity to meet other writers and hear great keynoters, and there's just something to be said for being in a room full of writers who are experiencing all the same things you are. That camaraderie can mean a lot, and you can make great friends. It's also an opportunity to meet people who work in the business.

If you can afford it and it seems like your thing, great. They're not mandatory by any means, but I think they can definitely be valuable.

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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Heather B » September 16th, 2010, 6:42 am

I'm back, fresh from WorldCon and I have to say it was amazing. The workshops really helped broaden my knowledge and everyone was so happy to be there and eager to share their experiences.
Steve, I'm an unpublished writer but conferences aren't only for the published. They're useful no matter what level of publishing you're at as long as you don't go expecting to get an agent from the conference alone. There's a whole lot more you can learn in person than online.
It's all on you what you take away from them so if you go there thinking it's a scam, it'll feel like it. If you go there just wanting to learn as much as you can and meet as many people as possible, you'll be fine.

Plus, meet a group of people and it becomes a heap of fun. :)

I'm already planning to go to Supernova in Australia and (hopefully) one in America next year. I'm going over for the first time with my whole family and I've already planned to ditch them for a week and meet up after. In my opinion, conferences are very worthwhile.
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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Down the well » September 16th, 2010, 10:02 am

steve wrote:hulbertsfriend wrote:
Is attending a conference worthwhile?

I'd like to hear more responses to this.
Not all conferences are created equal. I'm fortunate to live in a place where they do put on fabulous conferences. Both the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference (fall) and the Pikes Peak Writers conference (spring) offer great workshops and opportunities to interact with agents and editors.

I was at the RMFW conference last weekend and attended two of the most informative workshops I've ever been to in my life. One was led by a woman who spent twenty years as a Detroit police officer. In her off-time she earned her Ph.D in Educational Psychology. She gave a workshop on The Facts of Death, and it was mind-blowing -- eight foot slides of various stages of decomposition, and all. I now know how to hide the body if I ever decide to kill anyone.

The other workshop was about weapons. The men who led this workshop brought swords, knives, axes, bows, Roman armor, Greek armor, Medieval armor, and they let us heft the weapons in our hands and try on the armor if we wanted. Where else would I get access to this kind of stuff? It's one thing to describe my protagonist swing a sword, but to actually know what that weight feels like in my hand is priceless. It was well-worth the money, and I have already incorporated the information I learned in this workshop into my novel.

My opinion: Conferences are worth it. As Heather said, don't go looking to get an agent. Go because you want to learn and improve your craft.

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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by AMSchilling » September 16th, 2010, 11:56 am

Down the Well: Great info on RMFW! I was going to go this year since I live within spitting distance of Denver, but alas: a broken A/C unit spoiled the plan (aka sucked up all my money). It makes me more determined to go next year, though! There were at least two topics per time slot that sounded really interesting.

Do you like Pikes Peak or Rocky Mountain better? Which would you pick if you could only go to one?
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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by hulbertsfriend » September 16th, 2010, 12:25 pm

Thank you for the great insights into Writers Conferences. I had planned on going to the SCWC, but a shoulder injury since my last post has me visiting a surgeon this Monday. I live in New Mexico, so the Pike's Peak or Rocky Mountain conferences will be on my schedule for next year.

Learning the craft of writing would be my reason to attend any conference. Fear of a scam by reputable people in the field of Publishing doesn't even make my radar. If anyone thinks they are a scam, have a look at who attends these conferences as speakers. They have far too much to lose to be part of anything scurilous.

I think Conferences are about putting your best foot forward. Doing whatever you can to be better at something you love. Meeting other writers, let alone a chance to experience agents in person (human or monster?) is well worth the time and money if you're serious about learning the trade.

All the Best!

DougM

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Last edited by hulbertsfriend on September 16th, 2010, 1:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Down the well » September 16th, 2010, 1:15 pm

AMSchilling wrote:Do you like Pikes Peak or Rocky Mountain better? Which would you pick if you could only go to one?
I honestly enjoy them both. Part of it depends on the faculty, though. You get a lot of the same local writers who lead workshops at both of these conferences, but they usually try and focus on something different for each one. I haven't been disappointed by any of the agent/editor panels, either. They're always well worth it. And the keynote speakers so far have been outstanding at both. RMFW is less expensive, though. And if you live close enough to drive you don't have to pay for two nights at the hotel.

For me, I think I liked the Pikes Peak conference just a smidge better because I did get to stay at the hotel and fully emerge in the conference climate for three days. It was kind of like a mini-retreat. Also, at Pikes Peak they assign editors and agents to different tables during the dinners so that they have to sit with the attendees. There is no escape from the aspiring writer for these poor hapless publishing professionals at Pikes Peak. : )

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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Heather B » September 17th, 2010, 3:35 am

Are there any during June/July next year? It doesn't matter where as I'll be traveling anyway. And are any of you planning on attending them?
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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Margo » September 17th, 2010, 10:37 am

Heather B wrote:Are there any during June/July next year? It doesn't matter where as I'll be traveling anyway. And are any of you planning on attending them?
If you have the time and the money, that period technically covers the Odyssey and Taos Toolbox workshops (for sci-fi and fantasy writers). I can't recall the dates for Clarion West, but I suspect they are pretty close as well. I prefer workshops to conferences. It's all writing all the time, and workshops of this format are more likely to be genre-specific. I don't have dates yet, but I hear Donald Maass and James Scott Bell will be teaching during the same workshop in 2011, which makes me giddy in a completely pathetic way. Donald is also doing one with Nalo Hopkinson in March (two days all genres, one day spec fic with Nalo).

Illness in the immediate family means I won't be on the road for anything in 2011.
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Re: Writer's conferences?

Post by Heather B » September 18th, 2010, 5:31 am

That's a pity Margo. Those workshops sound good and it would have been nice to meet up. At least I have somewhere to start.

:) Thanks.
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