Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Conferences or do I want to spend all that money?

With our Silken Sands Writer Conference just around the corner, and yeah, I'm doing a workshop on writing for the e-market, I thought I'd offer a view or two on conferences, big and small.

Conferences take time and they take money. Last weekend Epic, the writers' organization for Electronically published held theirs in New Orleans. RWA, the organization for Romance Writers will hold their national conference in July, Romantic Times will be meeting soon and smaller conferences are being held all over the country for all kinds of authors, publishers and readers.

Now, to my question. Do I want to spend all that money?
Yep! Conferences cost. There's travel expenses, hotel, food, registration, and of course all the materials you have to prepare or the books you'll buy while you are at the conference. So what does the conference do for you and what can you offer to the conference?

I love doing workshops. I enjoy meeting long time writing friends who also love the conference scene. And if I have a book to promote, then a conference is often worth the cost. But I'll defer here to mention that I much prefer the small conferences. RWA national brings together several thousand people - agents editors, authors, promotional people and as yet unpublished writers. To be honest I really think you get lost in the shuffle.

I been to National conferences, medium sized conferences, and small conferences. Personally I prefer the small conferences. I have more of a chance to talk to writers. And I have yet to meet an author who doesn't read something. So I'm really talking to readers. I also get to meet and spend time with one or two agents or editors and share some of my knowledge. There is also the thrill of meeting a stranger who has read your book and who thinks it's wonderful.

As you might guess, large conferences cost lots of money. I estimate the national conference for attendees to the RWA conference can spend as much as three thousand
dollars for transportation, registration, hotel and meals, even though the conference is being held in the middle of the US this year. Romantic Times Readers Conference is scheduled to meeting in Ohio and again for many who must travel the expense will be great. So, the question is - is the cost worth the expense?

As I said, I prefer the smaller conferences. They are less expensive, and I personally feel you have a better chance of meeting a few people who can make a difference. But that's only my opinion. Lots of people love the hustle and bustle of a larger group. I like it small and less expensive. However, the question must always be asked. "Is this conference worth the expensive for me?"