Status: First book almost ready to go to publisher
I used to go to every conference I could afford. I loved seeing people in person that I had only previously met online. Though nervous and unsure of myself, I waited with many others for a chance to meet an editor who could boost my manuscripts to the coveted status of "published." I absorbed material presented at workshops and came home motivated to write, edit, submit, and write again.
However, times have changed for me and I rarely go to conferences any more. Why not? Well, here are some things I consider before deciding to go to a conference.
Even after almost twenty years of writing, I still enjoy workshops and know there's always something to learn about the craft and business of writing. Conferences can provide wonderful workshops. However, I can also find great workshops online.
In spite of being an introvert, I enjoy meeting writers, editors, agents, booksellers and others involved in getting a book from creative brain to bookshelf. Again, I can "meet" all these people online, though it's not the same for me as meeting someone in person.
When I was trying to sell to the big New York publishers, going to conferences meant a chance to meet editors in person. Perhaps they would request my treasured manuscript and I could write "requested material" on the envelope that moved my dream higher up in the pile to be read and considered for publication. However, my dream of being published came in the form of e-books and print-on-demand books--before that became the "latest rage." With no desire to sell to NY publishers, there's no longer a need to join the queue of hopefuls at conferences waiting to meet a handful of editors.
I've never seriously pursued getting an agent. Even when I was trying to sell to the NY publishers, I was targeting category lines that didn't require an agent. So that was never a big consideration for me to go to conferences.
Added to this list are financial and personal considerations I weigh before deciding to attend a conference. How much will the conference really cost when adding up registration, hotel, airfare or gas for my vehicle, meals, etc.? Will the time lost when I could be writing be balanced by what I gain from the conference? I also have a small herd of doggies that I would need to arrange care and spoiling for while I'm gone.
When I weigh the personal and financial costs against the benefits, I rarely go to conferences any more.
Will that change? I've learned to never say "never." In the meantime, I'll keep writing and publishing with my e-book publisher, looking for new readers and ways to cost effectively promote my books.
Now I'm going to turn the question back to you: is attending conferences worthwhile FOR YOU?