Why Spend the Money to Attend Writers Conferences?

by | Writing | 6 comments

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Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days isnow available. See details below.

I attend two to three conferences per year, usually two Christian writers conferences and a secular one. I’ve been to 8 different conferences across the U.S. The list below from my experience may help you decide whether you want to spend the money to attend a conference.

  • Conferences help writers meet others in the same stage of writing or publication. The seasoned authors seem so connected, but most “grew up” together from the novice stage. If you’re in the novice stage and are serious about writing, you and your new friends will eventually become seasoned and more connected.
  • Some conferences offer scholarships to help with the cost. Conferences get creative in the ways they grow scholarship funds. They want to give out scholarships, so apply.
  • Conferences offer quality speakers. Speakers will inspire, encourage, and entertain you. I told keynote speaker Francine Rivers that she must have had the same guide I had in Ephesus for her Mark of the Lion Series. She said she’d never been to Ephesus. I walked away amazed at her research abilities.
  • Conferences are the place to ask your burning questions. Seasoned authors remember what it was like to be a budding writer. Most are happy to pay forward the help they received and answer questions. Many become official mentors and are available for mentor appointments.
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  • Conferences offer classes or workshops for all stages of writing. Once you’ve taken classes for novices, you can take classes in future conferences on the areas where you’re weak. Characterization, plotting, adding humor, self-editing, chapter hooks, endings, etc.

  • Some conferences are for fiction only, but other conferences cover a gamut of writing genres. You may write fiction, but would like to learn how to write articles to make some money while you’re waiting to hear back on manuscripts. Or when your first book is published, you can take a class on speaking, then take your book on the road. How about script writing or ghost writing.
  • Many conferences have outside bookstores run a conference bookstore on campus. You can sign up to sell your book(s) for a percentage. Some authors bring books; others have the bookstore order their books. Also, you can purchase books often at a reduce price. You’ll find fiction, children’s, writing craft, and other nonfiction books.
  • Usually, you can sign up for fifteen-minute appointments with agents and acquisition editors. This is your opportunity to pitch your book. Some conferences offer appointments with mentors or authors too.
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  • Many conferences bring in a photographer to take headshots. Their photo sessions are usually reasonably priced.
  • Publishing is about more than writing. You need to know about marketing and using social media. Classes at writers conferences will teach you how to build your platform.
  • They provide great opportunities for networking. Bring business cards. It’s not so much about schmoozing as making friends, especially during meals. You may find a critique group or partner.
  • Once you’re published, conferences give you a chance to meet face to face with your editor, agent, or publisher’s attending reps. I’ve sat with a rep from one of my publishers and talked marketing strategies.

What holds you back from attending conferences?

The Kindle copy of Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is available for pre-order. AND if you bought or buy the print copy you can purchase the Kindle copy for $2.99. See Matchbook Price. Pre-Order Kindle

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Zoe McCarthy’s book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is a fresh and innovative refocusing of your novel or novella. Through a few simple—and fun—steps, Zoe helps writers take their not-ready-for-publication and/or rejected manuscripts to a spit-polish finish. Writing is hard work, yes, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. —Eva Marie Everson, best-selling and multiple award-winning author, conference director, president of Word Weavers International, Inc.

If you want to increase your chance of hearing yes instead of sorry or not a fit for our list at this time, this book is for you. If you want to develop stronger story plots with characters that are hard to put down, this book is for you. Through McCarthy’s checklists and helpful exercises and corresponding examples, you will learn how to raise the tension, hone your voice, and polish your manuscript. I need this book for my clients and the many conferees I meet at writer’s conferences around the country. Thank you, Zoe. A huge, #thumbsup, for Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days.  —Diana L. Flegal, literary agent, and freelance editor

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript is a self-editing encyclopedia! Each chapter sets up the targeted technique, examples show what to look for in your manuscript, then proven actions are provided to take your writing to the next level. Whether you are a seasoned writer or a newbie, you need this book! —Sally Shupe, freelance editor, aspiring author

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American Christian Fiction Writers

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  1. Jane F Thompson

    I have learned so much on the craft of writing, been extremely inspired and motivated by seasoned writers and made great friends at Christian writer’s conferences. (Can’t same the same for secular ones. It felt very dog eat dog.)

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      The more conferences I attend, the easier it is for me to chat with people and make friends. I’m at one now and enjoyed reconnecting with a woman who has the same agent as I do.

  2. Melissa Henderson

    I just returned from Carolina Christian Writers Conference in Spartanburg SC. The conference was amazing! Lots of great people and lots of great encouragement.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thanks for chiming with a conference that worked well for you, Melissa. I’m at the Florida Conference as I type. Been really blessed with presenters.

  3. Joanie Walker

    I’ve benefited greatly from Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference near Ashville. Great speakers, amazing classes, and face-to-face time with editors and agents. See you there in May, Zoe! Love your writers’ guide to improving my manuscript.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      I, too, like Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Joanie. Thanks for letting me know that Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days is helping you.

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