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Is a Writers’ Conference Worth Your While?

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

As we discussed on Tuesday, writers’ conferences can be very big and therefore very intimidating. They’re not usually for the faint of heart.

For instance, imagine you’re at WriterCon 2020 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to its website, it “will be held at the historic Skirvin Hilton in downtown OKC.” That’s a four-star hotel that looks perfectly posh, judging by the pictures its website displays.

Moreover, it features two hundred and twenty-five guest rooms along with “18,500 square feet of meeting space, two ballrooms, three world-class boardrooms, three event rooms and a pre-function lounge.”

In other words, there’s a lot of space to work with. Which makes sense considering how WriterCon 2020 will include:

  • 60 classes

  • An exclusive Saturday-night banquet

  • A Sunday “lunch with the stars”

  • Chances to talk with big-name agents, editors, publishers and publicists.

With all of that to experience, it might be (special emphasis on those last two words) worth it to go – overwhelming or not.

So far this week, we’ve discussed three different writers’ conferences. There was the Annual Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference, the Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday, and now WriterCon.

But that’s hardly where the list stops. There’s plenty more of those to explore.

See if any writers’ conferences look right for you.
There are writers’ conferences set everywhere across the Western World and many places elsewhere. Pick a place other than Iran or North Korea or some other such state, and you’re likely to find a group that’s more than willing to take your money in exchange for a writing experience.
You can also find writers’ conferences out there that are geared toward different genres. So rest assured you’ve got choices if this kind of event sounds appealing to you. If it doesn’t though, don’t worry. They might be a waste of your time and money anyway. Or they might not be.

Truth be told, that’s very much up to you (for starters, anyway), mainly boiling down to one big question… What do you plan on doing when you get there?

No doubt, you plan on attending some of the workshops and lectures. They’re being led by big-name industry individuals, after all. You’d be insane not to go!

And, sure, you probably would be. At the same time… sitting in an audience with a bunch of other authorial hopefuls, listening to big-name industry individuals isn’t worth it alone. Not for the money you spend on the writers’ conference itself, any accommodations, travel, food and other expenses.

Besides, I can almost guarantee that what you hear them say in an auditorium won’t be much different than what you can read about them in interviews, books they’ve written and posts they’ve published.

The real reason you should go to a writers’ conference is for the one-on-ones. If you’re going to pay that kind of money in the first place – and again, it’s probably not going to be cheap – you might as well pay something extra to sit down and pitch your manuscript to an actual agent or publisher.

If you impress them, you could find yourself with a publishing contract.

Though, admittedly, that’s still a big if dependent on a wide variety of factors.

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