Why Should You Attend a Writer’s Conference?

I decided to attend this year’s Romance Writers of America conference in July, and it led me to ponder a few of the reasons writers should (and shouldn’t) attend conferences.

Good Reasons:
Learn from other writers
Learn from industry professionals
Meet editors and agents (if you have a finished book)

Bad Reasons:
You want to be a “writer” by association instead of action
You want to make sure an editor or agent reads your work
You want to stalk editors and agents in the restroom

I could go on, but the bottom line is this: have you written a complete novel that you are proud of? You might learn more about writing query letters and improving your craft at a conference workshop. You might learn about mistakes made by authors in the query and submission process. You might meet an editor who asks you about your work and invites you to submit it to her.

Or you might not.

I think of writer’s conferences as writer-filled little vacations where I get to go and think about the business of writing for 3 days straight. I also get to see old friends and maybe learn something new.

Mistakes writers often make at conferences include being too pushy with editors and agents. Remember–it’s not just your book you have to sell, it’s YOU. Make sure you are behaving like a person you would want to work with throughout the arduous process of editing a novel (many novels, we hope!). Don’t rush to sell yourself or your book to anyone you meet at a conference, because really, no one wants to be ambushed that way. We writers tend to get oddly desperate when it comes to getting our work published. That desperation is poison–avoid it at all costs.

Are you going to RWA Anaheim this year? If so, I look forward to seeing you there!


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