Conferences and Conventions

Submission protocol, query etiquette, and strategies that work
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Watcher55
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Re: Conferences and Conventions

Post by Watcher55 » June 1st, 2011, 1:06 pm

I get what y'all are saying, and I'm approaching this pretty much the same way I would if I were shopping for a car. The first order of business is to figure out which type of dealership (conference) NOT to consider then look into those that might meet my standards. Once the short list is compiled I can compare (research) the pros and cons of what each has to offer.

First problem - I have two questions that I have to answer before I can make an intelligent choice: What do I want from a workshop/conference and more importantly, what do I need from a workshop/conference? (It would be silly to buy the '65 Impala convertible (my dream car), if I need a work truck, but there are amenities I want my truck to have.) Those are questions I have to answer for myself, but it will be easier if I can address my...

...Second problem - I know enough about vehicles to separate the shysters from the reputable dealers, but I don't know enough about the publishing biz to confidently make the same judgment call. My question is this: How do I know the difference between a conference that's going to waste my time and money and a conference that offers what I'm looking for and maintains a standard of quality and integrity?

Margo
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Re: Conferences and Conventions

Post by Margo » June 1st, 2011, 1:33 pm

It's really not that hard, Watcher. If you find one you're considering...ask if anyone here knows anything about it. If you don't get any/enough feedback, try asking on the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Plenty of people around here have gone to multiple conferences and/or workshops. I would bet we have all of the major ones covered.
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Quill
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Re: Conferences and Conventions

Post by Quill » June 1st, 2011, 1:41 pm

Unless the conference is right in the city in which you live, it can easily cost a thousand dollars to go. Even two thousand.

One needs to get really clear on what one hopes to gain from it. It could be more cost effective to use that money for something else writing-related, such as hiring an editor, or paying one's bills to afford more time to write, or taking a research field-trip for that next book, taking some classes, hiring a website designer, you get the idea.

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JonGibbs
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Re: Conferences and Conventions

Post by JonGibbs » June 1st, 2011, 2:02 pm

I sincerely doubt you'll get a better answer than what Karen (cheekychook) said.

Best of luck with your hunt for an agent :)
Born in England, writer, Jon Gibbs, now lives in the USA. He can usually be found hunched over the computer in his basement office. One day he hopes to figure out how to switch it on.

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J. T. SHEA
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Re: Conferences and Conventions

Post by J. T. SHEA » June 1st, 2011, 7:53 pm

65 Impala convertible vs truck? Good question, Watcher. What about cutting the roof off an El Camino? Oh wait...you're asking about writers' conferences. I dunno. I've never been to one. Yet.

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cheekychook
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Re: Conferences and Conventions

Post by cheekychook » June 1st, 2011, 11:19 pm

Quill wrote:Unless the conference is right in the city in which you live, it can easily cost a thousand dollars to go. Even two thousand.

One needs to get really clear on what one hopes to gain from it. It could be more cost effective to use that money for something else writing-related, such as hiring an editor, or paying one's bills to afford more time to write, or taking a research field-trip for that next book, taking some classes, hiring a website designer, you get the idea.
Don't forget good old fashioned bribery. ;)

Seriously, though, conferences are expensive. Many offer the option of attending only a single day rather than the entire conference, so you can choose the most worthwhile sessions but at a lesser fee. Most also offer a "roommate finder" service if you don't mind sharing a room with a stranger. Personally I attended a conference with my critique partner who I "met" on this very blog. The most fun part of the conference was getting to hang out with her in person after endless months of emails/IMs and countless critiques of each other's manuscripts.

Also don't overlook smaller local conferences. Often time colleges, local writing associations, etc will host conferences that attract the same exact high powered agents and guest speakers, just in few numbers. The Writer's Digest Conference I attended had over 50 agents in attendance and workshops by people like Donald Maass and Janet Reid....but a small local Romance Writers of America recently offered their annual conference, which was (I believe) around 1/3 the price and they had about a dozen of the same agents available for pitch sessions and Donald Maass was their guest lecturer. Keep looking---you'll find something to suit your needs.

And Margo is absolutely right---if you find a conference, odds are someone here has attended it! Ask for the dirt and you'll probably get it!
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