Writers' Conferences-The Best Investment for Writers

The first writers' conference I ever attended was LDStorymakers, and it totally changed my life and opened up a world of what seemed to me to be the secrets of writing and publishing.

I get asked almost every time I do a signing or event by multiple people what I would suggest they do to become a better writer. Without hesitation, I tell them to attend writers' conferences. That is where serious learning takes place.

Not only do you learn a ton, but opportunities that you didn't know were available are suddenly popping up everywhere. What types of opportunities, you ask? I'll give you a small taste.

At that first conference I attended eight years ago, I met the senior editor of Putnam (at least I think it was Putnam). I was lucky enough to sit down with him after he'd read the first 10-15 pages of the first book I'd ever written. I had no idea what to expect and truthfully, knew nothing about editors and agents, or publishing for that matter. He really liked what I'd written and made one big suggestion-that start the story in a different place. In fact, he wanted me to send it to him once I'd made the changes. I took his advice and it was incredible what it did for my novel, Watched (which is free right now at all major online retailers-go snag it) Unfortunately, it took me FOREVER to finish the book and by the time I sent it to him, he'd retired. Meeting up with and pitching agents and editors is a huge benefit to anyone who wants to publish. Writers' conferences are one of the places to do that. The easiest in my opinion.

Only a few short years later, I met and pitched my agent: Michelle Wolfson. My claim to fame with her is that I'm the first client she's ever picked up from a conference. What conference? LDStorymakers. I just can't get enough of that conference. I always learn a ton and meet amazing people.

On the topic of people, I met tons of writers. What is the benefit of that? The second thing you should do if you want to become a serious writer is to find or create a critique group. How do you find writers to do this? Writers conferences. Almost everyone is carrying around  bookmarks and business cards to hand out to people. Find writers who are at about the same skill level as you, or higher, and write in similar genres and then help each other on a regular basis with what each of you is writing. My first group started with about six people and everyone from that group, aside from one, who will be published-she's amazing, is published now. 

The last perk I'm going to tell you about, and there are way more than three, is that you get access to tons of successful, published authors. Not only do you get to hear many teach, but you can approach them and ask questions about how they became a success and then emulate them. The best place to learn is always at the feet of the masters.

Guess what? LDStorymakers is just around the corner in May. Give it a try. You won't regret it. Need more information? I'm blogging at iWriteNetwork and highlighting this conference. Go check it out HERE.

Have you ever been to conference? What was the best thing about the conference?