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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Writers Conferences ~ Are they worth it?

Good morning folks,

I'm running a little late posting my blog this morning, but wow I'm glad the holidays are over and we are moving on into another year. 2010 wasn't a totally bad year for me with my writing. I released 12 stories last year and made some wonderful friends and fans along the way. I attended the Romantic Times Convention in Ohio in April, the Lori Foster's Get Together in June and the Central Ohio Fictions Writer's conference in Ohio in October.
As I look back on these conferences, I often wonder if they are worth the price of going. RT is very expensive—$500 just for registration not including your hotel and airfare if you have to fly. For a brand new writer, I think it's invaluable if you can afford it. They have some awesome workshops on everything from promoting, to pitching your book, to what to write and how to write it. I met some fantastic people, got to spend Breakfast in Bed with Jimmy Thomas, whom I love to pieces. If you haven't had a chance to meet him, you need to. He's so sweet. I could just eat him up! How the whole thing of me winning the privilege of eating next to such a gorgeous guy, is another story.
Lori Foster's Get Together is very much worth the price. Her conference is only $50 plus your hotel and this includes several meals. It runs from Friday evening to Sunday morning and it's one big party. There are workshops and pitch sessions with some publishers, but you get to meet and mingle with fans, meet new ones, sell some books if you like and just have a great time. I had the opportunity to meet two new friends from Whipped Cream reviews and I don't think I've laughed so hard in my life. I'm definitely planning to return this year.
The Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference was okay. The whole conference seemed geared more toward writers which is a good thing, but not if you are a reader. There wasn't anywhere to put any giveaway things out like bookmarks or whatever. I was a bit disappointed with that part, but the food tasted great and the company I had the chance to hang out with, gave me the sense of family. Authors are family. Yes, there are some out there who feel e-published authors aren't real authors, but we are. We sell our product like everyone else, we have a fan base like every other writer and we have fans who can't wait for our next book. I had a chance to pitch a book to the Harlequin editor and got a request for a partial so it made the whole weekend worth it. Suzanne Brockmann did the key note addresses and she really gave me some great ideas and things to think about.
So back to the question, are these conferences worth it? You must judge for yourself, but for this nobody author who hit the romance novel networks in 2009 with her love of cowboys and the women they adore by the end of the book, yes it's worth it. Will I be attending some of this in 2011? You bet! And I seriously hope to see many of you there so I can meet more new friends and share the love of reading and writing romance with all of you.

Until next month ~ Sandy

12 comments:

Sandy said...

Hi Sandy,

I've always thought the conferences were worth it just for the friends I've made.

Good post.

The other Sandy lol Sandy M

Tina Donahue said...

Wow - you released a lot last year, Sandy - good for you!!

I agree, writers' conferences are worth it, if you can afford it.

Hope to see you at one this year. :)

Redameter said...

In the sense that you make some great contacts with a few fans and friends and maybe get to pitch your book, yes, it is worth it. Every writer should attend at least one conference in their life.
BUt it is expensive and if you are on a low budget you should invest wisely in the kind of conference that will do you the most good.

Great article SANDY
BLessing

Rita

James L. Hatch said...

Doubt I'll ever attend a conference that isn't on-line. The Museitup Conference this year was fantastic. I'd do that again in a heartbeat. Before I retired I attended shows and conventions, but only in one case could I actually trace increased sales or expanded contacts to one. Enjoyed your blog!

Sandy Sullivan said...

Thanks everyone. I do think conferences are worth going to, but as all of you know, we aren't getting rich by being published so you have to pick and chose where to spend your money. I've made some fantastic friends at conferences and I look forward to attending more this year although I'm afraid RT is out for me this year.

~ Sandy

Marianne Stephens said...

RT conferences are wonderful! Can't wait to go this year. RWA is fine but more businesslike and geared toward writers/authors and less of a friendly, open conference as RT or RomantiCon.
Haven't been to Lori Foster's Weekend but it sounds like a relaxed, comfortable setting, too.
Thanks for your insight!

Katalina Leon said...

Congratulations Sandy on such a productive year. I hope to have the opportunity to attend a conference soon. I would love to meet a few friendly souls face to face. that would be priceless.
XXOO Kat

lizarnoldbooks said...

Nice post and very good question. RT cost me alot of money but it's part of the necessary tools of a modern day romance reader or writer. Going back!
Liz Arnold

Carly Carson said...

I've only been to 1 conference and it was only 10 minutes from my house so I saved on hotel and airfare. I have to agree with Rita. Though it can be fun, it's also a lot of money if you are watching your pennies. It's a lot of listening to speeches. Every time I'd start getting to know people at my table, a speech would start. And go on. And on. lol But I am planning to attend RWA this year and I plan to have a great time. Are you going, Sandy?

Sandy Sullivan said...

Carly,

I might since it's not far from me, I think, but I have to look up the information on the RWA conference. I wanted to go last year since it was in Nashville, but the flood took care of that.

Sandy

Sandy Sullivan said...

Liz,

I plan to doing RT in 2012 since it's supposed to be in New Orleans. I just can't do the flight, registration and hotel this year, from Nashville.

Sandy

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Great post, but I have to say...I don't know if it's worth the expense. I've been to two major writers conferences and neither was worth it. One was a nearby weekend conference, one a week-long by invite only conference. I drove to both but still had hotel/lodging/meal expenses. I met some terrific writers but other than that, made no lasting connections that forwarded my career in any way.
I guess I learned the following lesson - have a good time, but keep your expectations low. Unless you live nearby, a conference can mean a big investment in money and time in a quest for that mythic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Only a very very few people find that pot of gold at a conference.

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