All conferences offer seminars, panel discussions and workshops that deal with a wide range of topics: craft of writing, the publishing industry, pitching agents and editors, marketing, blogging, social media, and technology to name a few. I’ve attended seminars on firearms, forensics, and police procedure – all at writers’ conferences.
The instructors are usually knowledgeable, well-prepared, and interested in passing on their expertise to you.
Agent and editor panels will provide you with information on what types of work each agent or editor is seeking, how to query them, what not to do.
- Private feedback
Some conferences offer appointments for you to meet privately with an author, agent or editor, either to obtain a critique of an excerpt of your manuscript, or to kick ideas around. This is a good opportunity to obtain impartial and helpful feedback.
- Pitch Meetings
You can meet with agents or editors to pitch your manuscript or non-fiction proposal.
- Discover a Community
A writers’ conference gives you the chance to meet like-minded people — people with whom you can share the ups and downs, and the challenges, of writing; people who can broaden your knowledge about writing techniques, the industry, and your genre; people who may benefit from your knowledge and expertise; people with whom you can share the occasional primal scream or celebration. Writing can be isolating; building a supportive community eases the isolation.
- Literary citizenship
Give something back to the industry. Volunteer at a conference. You’ll meet people, learn things. You’ll be appreciated.
- Meet and support authors
Here’s your chance to meet a few of your favourite authors, buy their books, talk with them, have the books signed. The authors will appreciate your support.
If you have a product, or a service, that can help writers, that they can use, or that they just plain want, a writers’ conference gives you an opportunity to meet a vibrant group of potential customers.