Saturday, April 29, 2017

Writer's Conferences... Should authors even bother?

As everything is relative, the answer to this question would depend on how much the conference is charging for admission and participation, what they are offering, and how it is run. These are the key elements that make events good events.

Location, speakers, attendees, price, curriculum, services, food and other perks are all important to how good an author event is, how much you will enjoy it, and the value that you get out of it. Once you've determined that these elements of a specific event are suitable for you, then you're ready to shift your focus toward the reasons you should attend, if you haven't ascertained them already.

If you ask me if authors should be attending conferences and other author events, my vote is a hands down, and very emphatic, YES! There are many reasons why budding authors,
as well as seasoned authors will benefit from attending conferences, workshops, events and the such.

7 Excellent Reasons to Attend Author Events:

Learning Skills- most conferences hold lectures, talks, workshops, seminars, etc. where a speaker, usually a very qualified someone, talks to the authors about specific topics in writing and publishing. These topics vary from talks that enhance writing skills (from world building to plotting, and character building and everything in between), to tips on how to find agents and pitch work, to publishing contracts, to platform building, to mindset and more. These are things that all authors should hear and think about at least once. And I'm being conservative here. If I had it my way, I'd make you all experts in all of these topics myself (I do offer workshops, programs and coaching).

Get work reviewed by professionals and qualified peers- Most events have some sort of workshop or panel where qualified reviewers read and critique your work. Some even offer services where they have an agent or editor review your work in private and give you an evaluation, critique, or feedback. This is extremely helpful to authors, when done before they submit their work for actual consideration so that they only submit their work when it is absolutely ready to be considered for representation or acquisition.

Learn about the industry- The publishing industry is an industry unlike any other. It is a beast of it's own, with it's own process, unspoken rules, and must follow procedures. The more you know about the industry of your author business the better "Author-Preneur" you will become. Knowledge will allow you to make the right choices for you, and will help you prepare for when the right opportunity comes knocking.

Know what's happening- Knowing the industry and being an amazing author sometimes isn't enough. More often than not, knowledge about trends, who is who, who is doing what, and what is happening can be most essential in helping you open a certain door. The more you know the better equipped you are to find and make opportunities.

See how others do it- There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Learning from peers and colleagues that are doing well can save you a lot of time and money. Meeting other authors at conferences, even if you don't become BFFs (which happens a lot), will enable you to put them in your resource pocket. You can learn from them, study them, stalk them (from a safe distance) if you have to, but look at what they do and how they do it. There is always something to be learned by people watching. Authors are great at this, use this skill to your advantage and learn all you can from people who are doing what you want to do.

Connect with Authors, Agents, and Editors- Networking is priceless. You never know who knows whom, and how they can help you, and how you can help them. These are opportunities to make connections with the entire universe. Everyone attending these events is there for the same reason you are, to learn, connect, and sell books. So take advantage of the opportunity to connect and don't be shy. Just make sure you look and smell your best. (I'm mostly not kidding)

Have fun! Author events can be boring for Muggles (non magical folks~ Harry Potter) but for us passionate, creative, story building, magical book loving people, this is the best place ever! It is one of the few places where everyone is of like minds and we all want to talk about books. Let your nerd show and be proud of it!

The reasons not to go to a conference, whatever they might be, should be altogether set aside and stepped on. In other words, if you can participate you should. I know that travel, participation, and meals, etc. can be costly. If this is an issue, then choose wisely and attend something that is good, close to your home, and attend at least once as soon as you can. Know what you need to get there, focus on doing it, create a plan and register early. There are usually early registration price discounts. If you love attending and get value from it, then you can repeat the process and attend again, or even try another.

Other than that, I can't think of any reason to not participate in as many good events as you wish, that I can't talk you out of.

That isn't the lawyer in me talking... I'm not about persuading people to do things they don't want to do. My goal is to coach you around obstacles that you might be setting in front of yourself that are not meritorious, and might be sabotaging your success.

Think of author events such as conferences, workshops, webinars, tutorials, bootcamps, programs, etc. as investments in your career... in your book business. You might lack time, money, motivation, attitude, skills, or some other resource that you believe to be a prerequisite.  But resources are only obstacles to you if you aren't resourceful. If you are serious about helping yourself as an author-preneur, and getting your work published properly, you need to be resourceful and muddle your way around those pesky obstacles to get to solid ground, where you can stand tall and achieve more.

So set your eye on the prize you want to win. Your goal is to learn about publishing, hone your writing skills, and make connections. Inform yourself by doing research to find a good conference, create a plan to attend and take action. 

On our Agency Website we have a very extensive list of Amazing Events, a list of places of Events We Are Attending and a list of Author-Preneur Workshops that we've tailor made for authors that we host on a monthly basis at different locations. Check these out and take one step closer to successfully achieving your goals.

Happy Learning!