Before self-publishing became a legitimate, viable option, aspiring authors had only one choice: land a literary agent—a daunting task, since an agent could possibly receive up to 20,000 query letters a year. So many authors turned to writing conferences as a stepping stone toward meeting an agent and becoming traditionally published.
Today, writing conferences are still thriving. But is it worth the time and money for an indie author to attend? It depends on your larger goals.
5 Ways Self-Published Authors Can Benefit From A Writers Conference:
Find a literary agent for your self-published book. Attitudes toward self-publishing have changed, and literary agents are opening their doors to indie authors more and more, especially if a self-published book has proven itself with a great sales record and the author has a solid readership. Writing conferences place writers squarely in front of the nation’s top literary agents and editors.
Network. Writing is a solitary endeavor, but there is a great big community of writers and publishing experts out there—and most of them are more than happy to help out a fellow scribe! Writers conferences offer a way for both aspiring and seasoned authors to connect, share tips, and socialize in person. You could meet the perfect critique partner, a new publicist, and even collaborate on creating a power promotional team!
Demystify the publishing industry. Self-published authors who aren’t seeking agent representation can still benefit from a writers conference. It’s a great place to learn more about the basics, the latest news, and the future trends of the publishing industry. And don’t forget the free swag!
Improve your craft. Independent authors can learn from successful, established authors, ask questions of publishing professionals, and attend seminars on everything from the business of being a writer to editing, developing an author platform, writing a great first line, and more. At some conferences, you can even schedule time with an agent or an editor and get feedback on a few pages of your manuscript!
Jump-start your muse. Feeling utterly burned out? By immersing yourself in a writing-centric conference, you may discover new energy, new ideas, and even solutions to plot problems that have you stalled.
Whatever your goals—to promote your new self-published book, meet a specific editor, or simply surround yourself with like-minded people and creative energy—go into a writers conference with a plan. Bring business cards with links to your social media and website. If you’re going to pitch an agent, don’t forget to bring copies of the first pages of your manuscript. And sign up in advance for seminars and one-on-one meetings! For more information, check out our best tips for attending a writers conference.
Concerned about the cost? Writers conferences can be fun, but they can also be expensive. Before you sign up, get all the details on location, accommodations, and extra expenses so that there are no surprises. (And learn here how to go to a conference for free!) You may find that as an indie author, a writing conference can help take your career to a whole new level.
Question: Have you attended a writers conference as a self-published author? If so, what’s YOUR best tip?