For the longest time, I thought Writer's Conferences were merely a day spent trying to network and mingle with a room full of introverted writers.
So I steered clear. Kept my nose to my manuscript. Edited away. Who needs networking when I've got work to do. Then I saw a posting for a nearby conference boasting classes, informational sessions, and, yes...food. Breakfast, lunch, snacks. Oh, hello. I'm there!
Turned out to be more informational, and dare I say, fun than I had anticipated. Best part, I learned that not all writers - myself included - are total freakish introverts. We just can't yap about our craft with just anyone. We need to be around other writers!
Which brings me to my #1 reason to attend a writer's conference:
#1 Meet Other Writers
Find others in your genre. Form a critique group, a reading group, a writer's meet up group with them. It's great fun and good exercise to involve yourself in the art of talking about writing with other writers.
#2 Practice Your Pitch
This is my main reason for going to future writer's conferences. I found out quick that the pitch I had thought was pitch-perfect was a total flop. And hurt. I saw the person I pitched to flinch at the 'r' word. I don't want any flinching when I'm pitching my novel to agents. I've revamped what I had - killed it, rewrote it - and am ready for my next round of pitches.
#3 Take Home Lessons
Writer's Conferences are filled with classes taught by authors, editors, authors who are editors, editors who are authors. In other words, people who live and breathe the craft.
#4 Find an Editor
So there will be classes taught by editors...who are pitching themselves, their services to all us aspiring writers. Take a class with editors you want to see in action, find one you like, and hire them if you want someone to go over your manuscript.
#5 Agent Sessions
At the conference I attended, you could pay an additional fee to meet with an agent to review your first 25 pages. Other conferences offer different deals. Pitch sessions, where you go around and have 5-10 minutes with a room full of agents and pitch, pitch, pitch. Others where you can submit your whole manuscript before hand and schedule a session with the agent of your choice.
I had fun. Got a day to immerse myself in my craft sans little hands. Next month, there is yet another conference within driving distance. I think I might go ;) Bring my business cards, practice my pitch, meet local writers. Can't wait.